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Ham Week Leads the Fight for Australian Grown Pork

23 October 2012, at 10:27am

AUSTRALIA - Australian pork farmers continue their fight to claim back the ham market share from cheaper, consumer perceived lower quality, subsidised imported ham products.

One of the tools in their fight back arsenal comes in the shape of Australian Ham Week (21–28 October) that will showcase the finest home grown hams from ‘this wide brown land’.

Nearly A$10 million worth (A$9.1m) of imported pork arrives in Australia every week. This equates to over 2.7 million kilos of pork imports arriving by boat in Australia every week or the equivalent of about 52,000 pigs.

Some 65–70 per cent of the smallgoods consumed in Australia is made from imported pork from countries that have some diseases that the Australian herd does not. These countries heavily subsidise their agricultural industries. (NOTE: ALL fresh pork is Australian).

Consumer research has shown that 95 per cent of Australians prefer to buy Australian grown food if they could identify it, but the existing vague country of origin labelling regulations in Australia makes it difficult for consumers to do this. But now with the bright pink PorkMark label there is no confusion with ham, and consumers can look out for this in the lead up to Christmas. The hot pink Australian PorkMark logo is a guarantee that the ham displaying this logo is made with 100 per cent Australian home-grown pork.

To mark the significance of Australian Ham Week a competition was launched to find Australia’s best ham for 2012. This year 146 entries were received from ham producers using 100 per cent Australian pork.

Open to all butchers and smallgoods processors that make their ham from Australian grown pork, the entries for Australian PorkMark Ham Awards for Excellence are divided into two categories: Traditional Bone-In Leg (all bone-in ham has to use 100 per cent Australian pork by law) and Boneless; and judged against key criteria which included appearance, texture, aroma and most importantly taste.

The judges comprised fleishmeister Horst Schurger, who has a Master’s degree in Butchering and Smallgoods from the Master College in Mönchengladbach Germany and two chefs, Paul McDonald and Simon Bestley. Between them, McDonald and Bestley have broad international experience working in Michelin starred restaurants, cruise liners and premier teaching institutions.

The official announcement of the winners was made at a breakfast function in Sydney on Monday 22 October. The overall winner was selected as the highest scoring ham in the overall competition.

For a list of the winners in each category click here.

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