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Imported Pork

As consumers become much more knowledgable about the provenance of what goes on their plates, there are some questions to ask about what makes for the great Australian Christmas ham.

First, check where it's from. If ham has a bone, it must be Australian: the $9 million worth of imported frozen pork that arrives for processing in Australia weekly is not allowed to travel with bones in.

Ham without bones may be from overseas pork but processed in Australia, so legally it can carry a label saying ''Made in Australia''. If you want Australian-grown, look out for the distinctive pink ''Australian Pork'' square label.

''Imports make up an estimated 70 per cent of ham sales,'' says Martin Carr of Australian Pork. About 2.6 million kilograms or nearly $9 million worth of imported pork destined for the ham and bacon market comes into this country every week, he says.

Although more Australian pork goes into Christmas hams because of the high demand for hams on the bone, Carr says, the consumer's ability to differentiate Australian product - in supermarket deli cabinets in particular - is constrained by a lack of clarity around country-of-origin labelling.

Source: SMH Dec 8, 2011 Read more