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Jan 10, 2014 12:11 PM

Jamón ibérico, new labels

The rules were "enormously confused", leaving consumers in Spain and abroad puzzled about what they were buying.
Under the new rules, labels must tell shoppers if the product came from a pig that was 100 percent ibérico or of a lesser percentage, depending solely on verified breeding records.
The number of categories of jamon iberico was sliced from four to three: "bellota (acorn)" for a pig fattened on acorns in open fields; "cebo de campo" (field feed) for a pig fattened in open fields on natural grazing and fodder; and "cebo (feed)" for a pig raised in a feeding pen.

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  1. Hmm, I need to read up on this more, because I'm really confused now. The free-range bellota pigs don't eat bellotas exclusively. They a such foragers. They eat grass, plants, bugs, lizards and whatever else is out there in the "monte."

    And what about the "recebo" pigs who graze and eat bellotas in the dehesas, but then get fattened up at the end with grain--especially necessary during years when the bellotas are scarcer. These hams are often of very good quality, and so much cheaper than the "bellota" ham. It seems there would be less incentive to produce these hams now.

    2 Replies
    1. re: butterfly

      According to what I've read, the recebo designation has been eliminated. I guess those pigs will now be considered cebo de campo.

      I think the thing about the bellota pigs is that they are fed only acorns by the farmers and whatever they forage on their own is their business.

      1. re: SnackHappy

        Oh, I think that's a shame. If you go to small-town Extremadura--those almost-bellota hams are such an excellent deal, especially from smaller producers. Some years there just aren't enough bellotas to go around. Though this year wasn't one of them--the trees were absolutely bursting with acorns this fall.