Saving Australia’s bacon

Mentioning Matt Preston and Homer Simpson in the same breath may seem like a bizarre non-sequitur. But having heard Matt pontificate from the semi recumbent couch position on TV’s Good News Week, there’s a delicious porcine thread of brotherhood there.

But while Mr Cravat-A-Licious insists that the most essential item in a fridge should be ‘pig’ for the bacon, ham, jamon, salami etc., which mimics Homer’s sage words on the magical animal, actually finding small goods sold here from home-grown Australian pork is evidence of another case of an Aussie industry being sold down the river by a myopic government policy.

Some 70 per cent of Australian bacon and ham products are made from subsidised, imported, frozen pork. Granted, no fresh pork, nor pork product with a bone in it can be imported to these shores, but there is a tidal wave of off-shore piggy bits destined for small goods manufacture that have cut the legs from under the local pork farmers.

Australian Pork Limited, the national industry body – having had enough of federal government inertia – has been making inroads to the market place with a consumer labelling program to help the confused shopper identify the Australian product from the interlopers. Local small good producers who use Australian pork to produce their products are adopting a pink, square Australian Pork label on their packaging.

Well, it’s a start! You sure as hell can’t rely on the vague and ambiguous labelling laws we have here to point you in any intelligent purchasing direction. Go the pink!

On the eve of the festive season when folks’ minds turn to the Christmas table, a ham is inevitably the centrepiece. If it’s an Aussie Christmas, you’d hope or even expect there to be an Aussie ham rather than a Canadian, US or Danish one occupying the table.

While knowing that a ham with the ‘bone-in’ is a guarantee that it came from an Australian pig, a hard and fast rule like that can disadvantage locally produced bone-out hams. So clearly the pink square pork label campaign is an imperative for consumers and small goods makers alike – as long as it doesn’t get confused with other pink promotional initiatives.

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