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Whanganui Midweek - 2021-11-24

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Read labels carefully when picking ham

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Where is your Christmas pork from? Don’t be fooled by the ‘made in New Zealand from local and imported ingredients’ label on your ham. As Kiwis order their Christmas ham, they’re being urged to check the pork is actually from New Zealand. Almost 41,000 metric tonnes (MT) of pork has been imported from 31 countries so far during 2021. Most will be further processed in New Zealand, with some masquerading as Kiwigrown pork. Their product labels, which highlight the New Zealand manufacturer rather than the actual origin of the pork, feature “made in New Zealand” descriptions with “from local and imported ingredients”, sometimes in fine print. “More than 60 per cent of the pork products consumed in New Zealand is imported from overseas, and for cured products such as bacon and ham, it’s even higher at up to 85 per cent,” said David Baines, chief executive of NZPork. “A lot of imported pork is produced using practices illegal in New Zealand and no Kiwi wants to think about that over Christmas. “That’s why when New Zealanders spot a ‘made in New Zealand with local and imported ingredients’ label, they need to know there’s a good chance it has been imported.” New Zealand’s pork sector operates to high welfare standards compared to many other countries who have less rigorous welfare and environmental regimes, he says. “Our pig farmers are also proud of the high health status of pigs in New Zealand. Our animals aren’t affected by diseases that are impacting pork industries in many other countries. “New Zealand does not import live pigs but these viruses can enter the country on infected meat. While they are harmless to humans, they could be spread to pigs in the wild or other kinds of farms or lifestyle blocks through infected food scraps — and ultimately be transmitted to the commercial herd.” During 2021, most pork imports have come from Germany, Poland, Australia, Canada, Spain, the United States and Finland.

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