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U.S.-bound jamón ibérico pata negra to lose their black feet

PhotoAccording to a release by PRWeb, all U.S.-bound shipments of jamón ibérico de Bellota pata negra, Spain's prized bone-in full-leg jamón ibérico cured from acorn-finished black-footed pigs, must now be shipped without its signature black feet.  Effective next month, any remaining hoof-on hams will also cost roughly twice as much as they do now, thanks to a new 100% duty.  Both changes are due to recent rulings by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

These jamón ibérico are traditionally displayed and carved with the foot still attached as demonstration of authenticity, as is this jamón (right) at the Bazaar by José Andrés.  Once the last hoof-on hams are sold, you'll have to leave the country to find the product in its traditional form.  Until then, Spanish importer La Tienda (the first to retail jamón ibérico in the U.S.) is still selling foot-on hams from its last shipment from Fermín.

La Tienda's Don Harris bought up the foot-on jamón ibérico when he heard about the ruling.  He said this morning that he has about 100 left.  According to Harris, the USDA ruling -- ostensibly about health issues -- is really an import-export turf war.  "We're having a war with the EU over beef," says Harris.  Harris says keeping the foot on the jamón ibérico is about more than tariffs -- it's about aesthetics and cultural pride.  "For Americans who don't know the culture of Spain, it's not a big deal, but to the Spanish, it's a very big deal."

La Tienda, 3601 La Grange Parkway, Toano, Va.  www.tienda.com. (800) 710-4304.

-- Amy Scattergood

Photo of jamón ibérico pata negra by Amy Scattergood

 
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