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A summary of the Quality Norm regulating the production of iberico products

This is a summary of the Quality Norm regulating the production of iberico products, with those aspects that have been considered more relevant for those dealing with these type of products.

A full version of the Norm is available on the previous post.

Click on the heading or on More (below) to access it.  


MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND ENVIRONMENT

                 Royal Decree 4/2014,January 10th, by which the Quality Norm for meat, ham, shoulder and iberian loin is approved.

 

CHAPTER I

General dispositions

 

There are a number of reasons why it has been considered that a new Norm was required:

 

The decrease of the census and production of the pure iberian breed and of the extensive systems of production linked to the “dehesa”.

 

There is an excessive variety in names on labels, which can induce the consumer to errors.

 

The use of part of the product names with inadequate font and size letters, and a random distribution of the labelling content is causing the consumer to be unable to effectively distinguish between products of very different quality.

 

The use of trademarks, logos, images and optional mentions that bring to mind or refer to products linked to the “dehesa” when, in reality, those products come from animals that have never been part of such ecosystem is causing a great deal of confusion among consumers.

 

The necessity of improving the racial purity of the animals whose products are sold under the Quality Norm.

 

The need to modify the handling and feeding conditions of animals within the different models, and the need to reduce the authorised number of animals that can use the “dehesa”, to avoid a potential damage to the ecosystem.

 

The need to improve traceability and control procedures.

 

 

CHAPTER II

 

Commercial Names and Labelling

 

The commercial name must have three components:

a)     Designation by type of product: ham, shoulder, loin and meat.

 

b)     Designation according to the feeding and handling:

 

  1. «De bellota» («Acorn-fed»): For products coming from pigs which have been slaughtered immediately after their use, solely, of the acorns, grass and other natural resources of the “dehesa”, without addition of any prepared food (fodder food).
  2. «De cebo de campo» («Countryside Fodder fed»): For animals that, even if they could have used the resources from the land or the dehesa, have been fed with prepared food, based on cereals and leguminous, and whose handling takes place in extensive farming, or intensive in the open.
  3. «De cebo» (“Fodder fed”): In the case of animals fed with prepared food, based on cereals and leguminous, whose handling takes place in intensive farming.

c)     Designation by racial type:

 

i)     «100% iberian»: mother and father are 100 % Iberian breed.

ii)     «75% iberian»: mother 100 % Iberian breed. Father 50 % Iberian breed (crossbred with duroc).

iii)    «50% iberian»: mother 100 % Iberian breed. Father 100 % duroc.

 

              For fresh meat, the designation regarding the type of feeding and handling is optional.

 

Article 4.   Labelling.

 

The incomplete use of the commercial name is forbidden, and so the addition of different terms from those mentioned above. The names must be placed on a prominent place, and, in any case, within the same visual field as the commercial brand, printed with the same letter font, size, thickness and colour, in all its parts.

 

The following optional mentions or expressions can be used on labels and promotional or marketing activities:

–   «Pata negra», which applies exclusively to the designation “Acorn fed 100% Iberian”, and Dehesa» or «montanera», which exclusively applies to the designation “acorn fed”

 

              Names, logos, images, pictures, symbols or brands which bring to mind or allude in any way to any aspect related to or referred to “acorn” or “dehesa” are reserved in exclusivity to the denomination “acorn-fed”.

 

 

Other mentions which must appear on the label (not applicable to fresh meat):

- For Iberian breed other than 100%, the percentage must appear very close to the commercial name.

- The mention “certified by” followed by the independent organism.

 

CHAPTER III

 

Obtaining of the raw material

 

Farms where Iberian pigs are raised must be registered at the corresponding register, and traceability of the animals must be kept at all times.

 

Handling conditions for animals whose products will be designated as “de bellota” (“acorn fed”).

The use of the resources of the dehesa during montanera time must take place considering the tree-covered area of the land or parcel and the maximum number of animals admissible.

The arrival of the animals to the montanera will take place between October 1st and December 15th, and the period for slaughtering will be between December 15th and March 31st.

 

Handling conditions for animals whose products will be designated as «de cebo de campo» («Countryside Fodder fed»):

 

  1. Production animals with more than 110 kg of life weight must have a minimum surface of free space per animal of 100 m2, in the cebo (Fodder fed) stage.
    1. The minimum period is such exploitations, previous to them being slaughtered, will be of 60 days.
    2. The minimum age at slaughtering will be of 12 months of age.
    3. The minimum individual weight of the carcass will be of 115 kgs, except for 100 % iberian pigs, which will be of 108 kgs.

 

Handling conditions for animals whose products will be designated as («Fodder fed»):

  1. they must have a minimum free floor space per animal of 2 m2, in the cebo stage.

 

  1. The minimum age at slaughtering will be of 12 months of age.

 

  1. The minimum individual weight of the carcass will be of 115 kgs, except for 100 % iberian pigs, which will be of 108 kgs.

 

CHAPTER IV

 

Identification and traceability of products

 

 

–   At the slaughterhouse the hams and shoulders of each product lot obtained from animals sacrificed from the moment the present Royal Decree comes into force, will be identified with an unbreakable seal with a colour code linked to the different sales denominations:

–   Black: acorn fed 100 % iberian

–   Red: acorn fed iberian

–   Green: Countryside Fodder fed iberian

–   White: Fodder fed iberian

 

 

The seals will be kept with the pieces at all times, including points of sale and catering establishments, and no other seal will be added, by any operator or third party, unless they comply with the colour code and designations.

In each production, transformation, storage and distribution phases the traceability of the products subjected to this norm must be guaranteed.

CHAPTER V

 

Elaboration of Products

 

Article 11.    Elaboration of iberian hams, shoulders and loins.

 

  1. Technics applied in the production process will aim to obtain products of the highest quality, bringing together the traditional features of the iberian ham, shoulder and loin.
  2. The elaboration process for the iberian hams and shoulders will be done with the full musculoskeletal pieces, and will have the following stages: salting, washing, post-salting and curing-maturing.
  3. The elaboration process for the iberian loin will have the following stages: marinating, stuffing in natural or artificial casing and curing-maturing.

 

The minimum weights and periods, considered from the day of entry into the salting area, are:

 

  1. Ham:

 

a)     The shortest periods of elaboration, related to the weights of pieces, are:

 

Weight of Pieces (end of process) (Kg)

Minimum curing period

< 7

≥ 7

600 days

730 days

 

b)     The minimum weight for hams, once cured and labelled, at the moment of expedition from the final producer, will be:

–   100% iberian Ham: ≥ 5,75 kg.

–   iberian Ham: ≥ 7 kg.

 

  1. Shoulder:

 

a)     Regardless of its weight, the minimum curing time will be of 365 days.

b)     The minimum weight for shoulders, once cured and labelled, at the moment of expedition from the final operator, will be:

–    100% iberian shoulder: ≥ 3,7 kg.

–   Iberian Shoulder: ≥ 4 kg.

 

c)     Loin. The minimum elaboration period for loins will be of 70 days.



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