Australian Pork – and Australian Food Security

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So you think the ham or bacon on your sandwich is an Australian pork product? It’s probably not. Here’s the simple way to make sure you are buying local.

Australian hams, complete with glazes to match the beers brewed by Sparkke at The Whitmore

Did you know that the huge majority of ham and bacon sold in Australia is not Australian pork at all, but imported product?

I thought not.

This week Adelaide’s top chefs helped launch a new campaign to help South Australian consumers buy 100% Australian ham and bacon. I was one of the more than 120 guests who attended the PorkStar event at Adelaide’s Sparkke at the Whitmore, where local pig producers like Boston Bay Smallgoods and Saskia Beer’s Black Pig, and smallgoods makers like Barossa Fine Foods, joined chefs for a first look at new ads, airing on Adelaide TV and radio until June.

The hard facts to swallow – along with your very tasty bacon sandwich – is that each week 4 million kilograms of imported pork arrives on our shores to be heat-treated and processed. This impacts Australian pig farmers in a huge way, many of whom have had a tough few years with drought, high grain prices and low farmgate prices.

PorkStar chefs Karena Armstrong, Paul Baker and Emma McCaskill teamed up to produce a creative ham and pork canape menu

Pork SA Chair, Andrew Johnson, said raising consumer awareness about the origin of their ham and bacon is an important step in supporting local farmers and producers – and ultimately in Australian food security.

As I wrote about back here, Australian-owned dairy farming is fast becoming a thing of the past, and I for one don’t want to see our pig farmers go the same way.

While some may take satisfaction in seeing dairy and pork farms on the decline, statistically most of us eat meat and dairy. The simple fact is that if pork production is removed from our control we have no say over animal welfare issues, general health and safety issues and, of course, our own ability to provide food for Australians.

Take the time to check the television ad out, when you see it. It’s clever – and shows you how to check the bar chart on the country of origin label. This sits under the green and gold kangaroo on products in both the chiller and in the deli.

Chef Karena Armstrong’s Ham soup dumplings with ginger vinegar

Chef Paul Baker’s pork toast, nduja, whipped goats curd and nigella seeds

As a general rule, if your pork is on the bone it’s usually an Australian pork product, but if it’s not on the bone you definitely need to check – look at the label or ask your butcher. The bar chart should be almost full or have a percentage of at least 90% Australian ingredients to guarantee the product is Australian pork.

It’s simple enough to do – and it’s a direct way to support Australian food producers and do your bit for Australian food security.

Lambs’ Ears and Honey was a guest of  Australian Pork Ltd.

All images supplied by Australian Pork Ltd.

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