Canada also stops Parma Ham, due to wild boars and swine fever

Parma Ham is in the red zone, due to wild boars. Swine fever has arrived in Langhirano and the discovery of a carcass infected with Psa a few kilometers from the kingdom of the sausage factories immediately raised the alarm. Europe has in fact expanded the restriction zone imposed on the movement of pigs and pig products and immediately another large importer of non-EU Parmesan cured meats blocked purchases. This is Canada, which represents 2.5% of exports. Previously, in the previous months, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Mexico had closed their doors to parmesan ham.

An emergency that has been going on since 2022, but which now risks impacting a fundamental market for the area and for Italy: a consumer turnover of 1.7 billion and related activities of 20 billion euros and 100 thousand jobs. “One wonders what scenarios await the export of Parma Ham now that the virus has managed to creep into the typical area,” comments Alessandro Utini, president of the Parma Ham Consortium.

African swine fever is harmful to wild boars and pigs (to date, however, no pigs have tested positive) but not for man, since it is in no way transmissible from animals to people. Therefore, no restrictions on distribution, marketing and consumption on our tables. But when the wild boars, which in our country are seven times more than the European average, become ill, European restrictions are immediately triggered, with the slaughter of thousands of healthy pigs and the closure of entire breeding areas. With repercussions on non-EU exports. A change of rules has been requested by professionals for years and negotiations have been underway with the European Commission's Directorate General for Health for years.

Today, at least 15 factories that produce Parma ham can no longer export to Canada, which is a country that does not accept products from restricted areas. And before that, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Mexico blocked the borders. For now, the market towards the United States and Australia has not stopped. There are no limitations on marketing either in Italy or in the European Union, but the rest of the world is an important lever for the stability of the PDO production sector.

Parma ham resists with its 7.5 million hams which translate into a turnover of 1.7 billion. But 33% is destined for the foreign market and therefore subject to the repercussions of possible restrictions. And then the entire industry is shaking: 20 billion euros and 100 thousand jobs. Assica (Meat and Cured Meat Industrial Association) has estimated losses in terms of exports due to swine fever throughout Italy at 20 million per month, including Parma ham. This is why there are more and more requests for intervention.

What is needed? “For our part, the hope is that all the initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Health, the Extraordinary Commissioner for African Swine Fever, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry and the competent Regions will lead to the containment and eradication of the virus, and everyone is invited to make a further effort to achieve this fundamental objective as soon as possible”, asks Alessandro Utini, president of the Parma Ham Consortium. Meanwhile, the Commissioner for the swine fever emergency Vincenzo Caputo met with farmers from Emilia, Piedmont and Lombardy. He ensured that the army began culling wild boars. The request is therefore to treat the issue as a real emergency, which is affecting a vital sector for the Italian economy.