CONSUMERS are unwittingly buying jamon Iberico from animals ‘who have not once seen daylight’ because of flaws in the industry, an expert has warned.
Guillermo Garcia Palacios, Huelva president of the ‘Denominacion de Origen’ quality assurance label, said under ‘fraudulent’ new government guidelines, inferior hams are being allowed to label themselves ‘jamon Iberico’.
He said this would be ‘disasterous’ for the industry.
Cured Iberian ham traditionally comes from black Iberian pigs who roam freely and feed on acorns, herbs and grass before eventually being caught and slaughtered.
“Pigs that have not once seen daylight and have been reared in factories in Tarragona or Murcia are being sold as Iberian ham,” he said.
“What’s more, they are being presented to the consumer along with a photo of a beautiful meadow.”
Palacios said the draft presented by Spain’s Agriculture Ministry last week will be the ‘cornerstone’ to the demise of the Iberian ham industry because it has opened it up to intensive farming.
He slammed Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Canete, saying: “He has already defined the realities the sector is facing and expressed his great concern about the decline of the Iberian breed, promising that he would not allow it – and now this.”