Iberian Ham. New Regulations and Labeling


A few dates are approaching when we start thinking about buying an Iberian ham at home. That is why, every time we receive more and more publicity with attractive offers, just in sight, about this delicious delicacy. And I say only to the view and the pocket of the buyer, because in these offers there are many picaresque behind, because of the ambiguous terms and lack of truthful information to the buyer. And precisely, this new regulation is what it tries to clarify. Try to differentiate between Iberian ham in the dry, against Iberian ham of recebo, with the one of acorn, with the acorn 100% iberico, with that of field bait .... And is that many think that he has the black hoof, that's enough. Moreover, they do not know that some are even raised abroad.

The New Regulation of Iberian Ham, approved by the Ministry of Agriculture in Royal Decree 4/2014 of January 10, 2014 tries to differentiate aspects about the purity of the breed, the food, its breeding, .... Now establishing only 3 categories for the Iberico ham, although it can be extended to the pallets and loins: Iberian Ham 100% Bellota, Iberian Ham Field bait and Iberian Bait Ham.

So that a Ham can be denominated Iberian Ham 100% Acorn, it has to be a pig with 100% Iberian "parents" (male and female). He must also have been raised in what is called montanera. That is, raised in freedom, in the field and fed solely and exclusively in the field (grass, roots, tubers, aromatic flowers and acorns)

So that a Ham can be denominated Iberian Ham of Field Bait, it has to be a pig of mother 100% Iberian and father with a percentage of Iberian crossing variable. In addition it must have been raised in the field in extensive exploitation and fed in the field and with support of feed in its time of fattening.

So that a Ham can be denominated Iberian Bait Ham must be a pig of 100% Iberian mother and father with a variable Iberian cross percentage. In this case, the pig has been raised and fed on intensive farms, ie on farms without having to graze in the field. Their feed is based on feed.

In addition to this denomination and so that the end user can clearly differentiate the product he buys and know the purity of the pig, its food and place of rearing, all Iberian Hams should wear distinctive labels, by colors:

Black Sticker. Exclusive of the Iberian ham that can be called "pata negra". They are pigs with fathers and mothers 100% Iberian pig, that have been raised in montanera exclusively and that have not been fed with feed. Only of what they can eat in the field but the time of fattening with acorn.

Red Label. It is a variety of Iberian ham in which the pig has a breeding and feeding equal to the "black leg", but the pig does not have a purity of 100%. The percentage of purity (75% or 50%) must be indicated on the label.

Green sticker. This label will show those Iberian Hams in which the pig has been raised in the field, but in addition to not being 100% pure breed, supplemented with specific feed. The percentage of purity (75% or 50%) must be indicated on the label.

White Label. It will be carried by that Iberian Ham in which the pig has passed its offspring on the farm and its feed has been with compound feed. The percentage of purity (75% or 50%) must be indicated on the label.

Iberian Ham Tag

The new regulations also set the minimum age for pigs to be slaughtered, with the minimum age for an Iberian acorn pig being 14 months, 12 months for field bait and 10 months for bait.

Changes always bring disparity of opinions. Some farmers still disagree that an animal that feeds on feed and is in a "cage" should not bear the nickname of iberico. Others point out that this rule will reduce production by increasing the pig's habitat area to 2m2 (before 1m2) and the age of slaughtering and thereby increasing costs. Also those who argue that in this way it becomes more difficult for customers to access an Iberian acorn ham, which although not 100% pure breed could be offered at a good price. Even those who believe that the norm should geographically delimit the denomination of Iberian to the South-West zone of the peninsula.

New Iberian Pig Rules

My opinion is that this rule is the most salomónica that could be done. It protects the breeding of the pure Iberian pig of breed, distinguishes it from the rest and links certain images (meadows and acorns) and expressions like black paw only to the 100% Iberian acorn, but in turn allows to keep the Iberian seal those pigs that in no They will see neither the pasture nor the acorn, which are up to 50% of the breed, but which represent approximately 75% of the total sales. This standard should not make the price of acorns 100% Iberian expensive, as their costs are the same and also avoid confusion. That if they marked a clear price difference between the other denominations in which the current customer was lost. You should also avoid, the typical sales claim of hams marked as low weight acorn (less than 7kg) and low price.

Finally, although the rule began its application in March 2014, we should not see in the market even hams, popsicles and loins with the new labels, since the hams that we buy this Christmas are sacrificed at least 24 months, because although There is a possibility that the farmer would label his production in the dryers, the bureaucracy to do so would have stopped more than one.