If there’s one thing that drives me mad when shopping it’s not wonky trolleys, but the proliferation of non-Australian ham and bacon. I’ll leave imported fish for a separate rant.
Yes the label may say Australian-owned and operated but the devil is in the detail. The vast majority of sandwich ham and bacon is not Australian.
Who knows where it is from? Mandatory labelling means the label must specify how much of it is Australian (eg made from at least 10 per cent Australian ingredients) but not where the bulk of the product is from.
Ham or bacon that is made from 10 per cent Australian product most likely means that’s just the preservative and liquid.
The best way to ensure you are getting Australian Pork and helping to support Aussie farmers is to read the label carefully and to look for ham off the bone, not shaved.
If you have time, head to your favourite gourmet deli or smallgoods maker. Two of my favourites are Black Pig Deli and Adrian’s Smallgoods.
From the South West, you can’t beat the charcuterie from David Hohnen’s The Farmhouse Margaret River.
Some of the Australian Pork or 100 per cent Australian ham and bacon products I have found in supermarkets are pictured above.
For streaky bacon, look for British Sausage Company.
Coles and Woolworths own brands offer a higher percentage Australian bacon at a slightly higher price point, for example, Woolworths Free Range Shortcut bacon (200g for $7) is made of 95 per cent Australian ingredients of which 90 per cent of that is pork. Coles also has 97 per cent Australian prosciutto. Update: I have been unable to locate the Woolworths bacon online while finishing this post.
A brand I had never bought until this year is Bertocchi – its Gold brand bacon is 98 per cent Australian Pork.
The free range jamon by Miguel “The Crazy Bull” Maestre from The Living Room carries the pink Australian Pork label and is 97 per cent Australian ingredients.
I am not a big ham, bacon or pork eater (apart from in dumplings) but when I do eat it I want it to be Australian, even if it costs a bit more.
Here is a story I wrote for The West Australian in 2018 as part of a campaign to encourage Aussies to eat more Australian Pork.
And here is a story by Jenne Brammer that help puts the use of imported pork into context; apparently consumers have created a surge in demand for some cuts that necessitates supplementing with pork from overseas.