Food by VICE

Why Was This Company Selling Sausage with the Confederate Flag?

The Vollwerth Sausage Company, based in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, will remove the Confederate flag sticker that accompanies its "Rebel Hot" style of Polish sausage.

by Munchies Staff
Jul 16 2015, 6:17pm

Photo courtesy of Vollwerth Sausage Company.

Not even sausage is immune to the changing winds of the zeitgeist.

It's only been a week since South Carolina's politicians wised up to the fact that it was maybe a little insensitive to fly the Confederate flag after putative segregationist Dylan Storm Roof allegedly murdered nine people in Charleston, and now companies across the US are giving the ol' Blood-Stained Banner a second thought.

One such company—a Yankee outfit, even—has sagely decided that it might be better off marketing its brand of sausage with something other than an emblem of fiercely cherished bigotry and sedition. Citing recent customer complaints, the Vollwerth Sausage Company, based in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, has announced that it will remove the Confederate flag sticker that accompanies its "Rebel Hot" style of Polish sausage. The meat stick will no longer carry the "rebel" title either.

Oddly enough, the company has no apparent ties to the South, antebellum or otherwise. Vollwerth was founded in Michigan in 1915 by a German immigrant, and the rest of its product line—which consists of smoked brotwurst, braunschweiger, natural-casing wieners, and the like—is devoid of politically charged iconography.

Some might say that the flag has little bearing on the product itself, as if it were nothing but a smiley face that means "Southern charm." But would those people feel the same way about, say, apartheid-themed black and white cookies? (And recall the recent controversy that engulfed a small creamery that released an ice cream flavor called "Bangkok Brothel.")

Then again, we're talking about a country that still can't quite agree that "redskin" is offensive to its indigenous population and think that greeting President Obama in Oklahoma City with a display of Confederate flags is a totally not-asinine thing to do.

Let's be real: Paying tribute to your heritage is one thing; flying the flag of a treasonous confederacy whose economy was built on slave labor is, you know, another?

But there is hope. With Tom Petty recently joining the small legion of leftish-leaning Southerners who have more or less said "Sorry! ¯\_()_/¯" to their past embrace of the embattled battle flag, one can sense that things are very slowly changing—one sausage at a time.