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From the Iberian pig until the walk. The ham with that label is one of the gourmet products that has overcome the crisis with more success. In 2017, 6.4 million hams were produced, 6.15% more than the previous year. Of this amount, only 9% comes from pure Iberian pig fed with acorns and grass in dehesas. The remaining 91% results from Iberian mixed with Duroc American breed and fed in very different conditions, according to Asici, the Interprofessional Association of the Iberian Pig.
In Spain there are about 14,400 Iberian farms, 80 slaughterhouses and about 500 processing industries, a business of around 1,000 million euros. It is a sector with exploitations of few animals up to large international groups and the high variability of the final products can disorient the final consumer. How to know where an Iberian ham comes from?
The Government approved Royal Decree 4/2014 to regulate what could be labeled as Iberian pig and in what way. This standard is known in the pig sector as Cañete law, in reference to the Minister of Agriculture who cooked it. “To guarantee the consumer that each ham is Iberian according to the standard, there is a system of four-color labels that are placed on the pieces. In this way we ensure transparency and traceability “, defends Andrés Paredes, managing director of Asici. The color code is established according to the genetic profile of the animal and the “management”, which is feeding and breeding.
The black seal is for 100% Iberian acorn ham. The red seal marks the animals of Iberian acorn, with 75% or 50% of race and fed in dehesa. The green seal, bait field, points to animals of more than 50% Iberian race fed with feed and grass. The white seal, which accounts for almost three quarters of the total production of Iberian today, comes from animals of more than 50% of Iberian breed fed with feed, which never set foot in a pasture. The usual of large farms.