The Spanish regulations governing the seals of Iberian ham were approved on January 10, 2014. According to these regulations, Iberian ham can be classified into four types based on the purity of the pig breeds used to produce the hams and their diet.
If you want to learn more about this, stay with us, there's no one better to learn about ham than the authentic ham masters!
What are the seals for Iberian ham?
The 2014 regulations were approved with the intention of ensuring that ham labeled as Iberian ham is of high quality, typical of our peninsula, and cured for the appropriate duration.
To make it more visually distinguishable, the legislation uses four colors to classify them:
- White seal: These are cebo ibérico hams, meaning they are produced from the meat of authentic pigs from our peninsula, fed with grain-based feed.
- Green seal: These hams come from pigs fed on natural pastures, herbs, and grains, and they are known as cebo de campo. It's important to note that these pigs have not consumed acorns.
- Red seal: These hams come from pigs with at least one Iberian parent, and their racial purity ranges from 50% to 99%. Typically, the mother is Iberian, and the father's breed is usually Duroc Jersey. They have been fed with acorns.
- Black seal: Only 100% pure Iberian acorn-fed hams can bear this color seal.
Enrique Tomás' Ham Labeling
Additionally, it is established that:
- The term "pata negra" can only be used to refer to 100% acorn-fed Iberian hams.
- The terms "dehesa" and "montanera" are used to describe acorn-fed Iberian hams, regardless of their racial purity.
- What was previously known as "recebo" is now called "cebo de campo" and corresponds to the green seal.
- For Iberian pigs raised in feedlots and fed with grain-based feed, they must be at least ten months old to be slaughtered. In the case of pigs raised in dehesas and fed with natural feed and grains, the minimum age is twelve months, and finally, for Iberian pigs fed with acorns, they must be over 14 months old.
- With the new regulations, it is no longer necessary for ham to be protected under a Designation of Origin (DO) to be considered 100% Iberian.
Why Was This Regulation Approved?
As mentioned earlier, the new regulation was approved with the aim of ensuring that anything labeled as Iberian ham is the authentic product of our peninsula. It seeks to prevent fraud and deception with the sole purpose of protecting the purity of the Iberian breed and a product that can only be produced here.
For ham to be authentic Iberian, it must come from pigs of this breed and must have been cured in the mountains of our peninsula for the appropriate duration. Likewise, the new regulation aims to ensure that pigs are raised in proper conditions and to promote the authentic conservation of the breed. Increasing control over the breeds can provide certification and guarantee purity.