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Spain protects prized cured ham, jamon iberico

Published on Jan 11, 2014 12:03 AM

MADRID (AFP) - Spain's government acted Friday to protect the global reputation of its prized cured ham, the exquisite ruby-red "jamon iberico", by simplifying labels and tightening quality.

Among the most sought-after hams in the world, the best quality Spanish cured ham is made from a pig of the purebred, black-hoofed indigenous 'iberico' race, which has been fattened on acorns as it wanders the meadows.

Once slaughtered, cured, and expertly sliced into nearly transparent slices, it is at the apex of international cuisine. "Jamon iberico is a star produce of Spanish gastronomy. It is the flagship," Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Canete told a news conference.

But the rules were "enormously confused", leaving consumers in Spain and abroad puzzled about what they were buying, he said after a meeting of ministers approved the reform.

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