Friday, August 28, 2009

Extremadura Farmers Complain of Fraud

There's an article in the Spanish media where Extremaduran farmers are claiming as much as 80% of the pork marketed as Iberico is fraudulently produced (Google translation).

This is coming after the scandal of Mangalitsa being sold as Iberico - a fraud made possible because the Mangalitsa and Iberian breeds produce similar meat.

One of the big complaints that the Extremadura farmers have is that farmers in other parts of the country are producing Iberico pigs, with modern methods. That pork gets marketed, fraudulently if necessary, harming the Extremadura producers.

I saw another story, about a farm getting the go-ahead to create a 600-sow Iberico confinement (Google translation). Of course, in the USA, the farms that you read about in the news are typically bigger - e.g. 3500+ sows sows, not 600.

My understanding is that the 600-sow unit is exactly the sort of facility the Extremaduran producers would be complaining about: a modern farm, using the latest technology, located outside Extremadura, that will produce pigs that will compete with theirs (fraudulently or otherwise).

It is pretty easy to see how this happens: the consumer can't differentiate the finished products. He can't tell if a piece of tasty ham is from Hungary, Castille or Extremadura. If people want to hear their pigs are Iberico breeds, produced in certain ways, that's what marketers will tell them.

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