Melissa Carter: An odd food makes its way into the meat market

Ever heard of pizzle? Probably not. In fact I hope not. But a Texas grocery store is in trouble for selling it.

It’s beef penis. Yes, I said penis. Ground up or dried. MT Supermarket in Austin is in trouble for improperly labeling and selling pizzle for human consumption. According to KXAN, a lawsuit was filed alleging a manager and employees at the supermarket took the pizzle from boxes “labeled inedible beef, not intended for use as human food and repackaged the pizzle in consumer size packages, then labeled the pizzle as human food.” A recent judgment in the case called for $5,000 in fines against MT Supermarket and the employees named in the suit.
So who is pizzle intended for?

Here in the U.S. it’s meant for dogs. Companies use pizzle in chewable dog toys. Drs. Foster and Smith sell “Pizzle Sticks” online, with a picture of some poor yellow lab chowing down on one. Does he know what he’s eating?!?

According to the product’s description, “The rich flavor and crunchy texture keeps dogs chewing for hours. Braided Pizzles have even more surface area with bumps and ridges for teeth cleaning and gum massage. Natural chews will vary in size.” I feel so dirty.

In America, pizzle is also used in specialty glues, but I can’t seem to find exactly which glues use this unique ingredient. But I will think twice before I lick my next envelope.

Other products include pizzle whips. World Wide Whips describe how the product is made: “The bull ́s penis is cleaned and dried. By twisting and stretching during this process, it becomes a vicious, highly flexible whip.” My eyes.

In other countries pizzle is used for human consumption, like in soups and alcoholic drinks. There are recipes for it, both as pizzle and under it’s sexier name of Cow Cod, which is thought to be an aphrodisiac.

Some athletes claim it boosts stamina and performance. Take the 2008 Olympic Games. Team China ordered supplies of pizzle from a Scottish company during competition to help with their performance, since pizzles are said to be rich in protein, vitamins, calcium, magnesium and hormones and low in cholesterol. Yum. However, athletes from China did win 51 gold medals in 2008, the most of any nation at those Olympics. Maybe the proof is in the penis pudding.

Asian markets and restaurants around the world are willing to provide you with appendages from a variety of animals, including—but not limited to—ox, deer, horse, and tiger. There are plenty of recipes online for pizzle, including on the Live Strong website, that calls for a bowl large enough “for it to lie flat,” and the all-important preparation of slicing the pizzle open “along its length and remove the urethra.” I may not eat again.

There are even pizzles in pop culture. Artists have taken on names like DJ Pizzle, Pizzle P, and Pizzle Mane. “Pizzles in Paradise” offers the literary world tales of one veterinarian’s career dealing with a variety of animals. There’s even H Pizzle, who is apparently Harry Potter’s gangster alter ego. Somebody’s childhood was just ruined.

I could have happily gone through my life without knowing what pizzle was, or the fact it even existed. I choose to ignore the possibility I may have even willingly offered my dogs this ingredient without realizing what I was doing. But now that my innocence is forever lost, I must apologize to all my vegetarian friends for often ignoring the arguments of your superior diet. From what I’ve now seen, you may have been right all along.