U.S. to allow imports of some Italian cured meats

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is set to lift a decades-old ban on many cured meats from Italy on May 28.

The lifting of the ban – which has been in place for about 40 years – comes after the USDA declared certain areas of Italy free of swine vesicular disease, which can survive the cooking and curing process. As such, the USDA believes the risk of the disease making it to U.S. shores is now low, according to NPR’s The Salt.

These regions include Lombardy, Emilie-Romagna, Veneto and Piedmont, along with the provinces of Trento and Bolzano.

Although the way will soon be clear for Italian cured meat exporters, they still have to meet U.S. food safety standards, including pathogen controls, which could be costly, according to The New York Times.

Currently, only about half of Italian cold cuts are approved for import into the U.S., including seasoned ham and mortadella.

Swine vesicular disease was first reported in Italy in 1966. The virus causes lesions on the snout, mouth and feet of pigs. Although the disease itself may not cause a high rate of production loss, it can cause severe economic losses as it must be differentiated from foot-and-mouth disease, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual. Eradication of the disease also is expensive; therefore, it is not uncommon for countries not designated free of the disease to face embargoes on pork and pork products, the Manual notes.

Comments are closed.