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Aussie Pork Industry Battles Cheap Imports

06 July 2010

AUSTRALIA - Every good ham knows imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But, for the pork industry, the difficulties consumers face in divining the real thing from the cheaper, imported knock-off are potentially devastating.

The Australian ham awards for excellence are an attempt by the industry to highlight home-grown quality such as that produced by Pastoral Smallgoods, a small Sydney-based processor whose work has been adjudged the best ham in the state.

Almost 100 processors entered the awards but Pastoral, established 50 years ago by the late Sam Sankey and now run by his son Larry, was the only NSW company among the winners announced last night.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the other category, traditional Australian bone-in leg ham, was awarded to CutFresh of Dandenong in Victoria.

The contest is the latest initiative by pork producers to combat products from overseas.

"The pork industry is being decimated by imports," said a spokesman for the producers' body, Australian Pork Limited.

"It's estimated 70 per cent of ham and bacon sold in Australia is made from imported, subsidised pig meat.

"Every week, $10 million worth, or 2.6 million kilos, of frozen pork comes into our docks from overseas."

Against this onslaught, domestic producers launched an Australian Pork label last year. To date, 151 butchers and smallgoods manufacturers have been licensed to display the pink logo on their products.

Larry Sankey said, "We only buy Australian grown from NSW and Queensland, and everything that comes into my factory is bone-in. Fresh is always better than frozen... it's one of the reasons my hams taste the way they do."

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