Prosciutto di San Daniele: from its origins to production

Prosciutto crudo di San Daniele

Redraft submitted of the rules governing the production of Prosciutto di San Daniele.

The amendment to the Regulations on PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Prosciutto di San Daniele, approved by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Authority, pursuant to Article 53 of (EU) Regulation no. 1151/2012 and Article 13 of Italian Ministerial Decree of 14/10/2013 is in the process of being published in the Official Gazette of the Italian Republic by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The document in question is an innovative update, the result of the joint and interconnected work of all the entities involved in the Prosciutto di San Daniele production chain, ham processing plants, breeders and slaughterhouses, who together defined the changes concerning the part of the new Regulations on livestock and raw materials.

The new text, which for clarity and simplicity of implementation consists of only eight articles, introduces changes relating to the scientific and methodological aspects of the production of Prosciutto di San Daniele, based on the most recent evidence that has emerged in research. It consists of a rewrite of the previous text, dating back to 1994, both the part dealing with raw materials and the one on the method of obtaining the product, which had become necessary considering the profound changes in the technological-productive aspects that have occurred over the last twenty years.

Among the main changes, bearing in mind the recent ministerial decree of 5 December 2019, the new document introduces a specific and stringent rule on the genetic characteristics of swine earmarked for PDO production: the only four possible combinations of cross-breeding permitted are explained; in accordance with the abovementioned ministerial decree the creation and use of a genetic data bank is introduced, for anti-fraud purposes, so as to control the genetic types used more effectively; moreover the rules on feeding animals are redefined, making them even more stringent and favouring the use of high-quality cereals.

The criterion of “dead weight” assessment was introduced ex-novo to assess the compliance of animals earmarked for San Daniele processing as defined by (EC) Regulation no. 3320/84: a minimum and maximum weight was fixed for each individual swine carcass earmarked for PDO, and this was to ensure better quality of the raw material and to allow better traceability of it, thus also making the identification system of the thighs more effective.

The renewed production rules reinforce the organoleptic and nutritional qualities of Prosciutto di San Daniele thanks also to the extension of the minimum curing period, the fixing of even more stringent compliance parameters in the matter of salt content, and through the setting of maximum and minimum weight limits for both fresh thighs and cured hams.

All the details of the new Regulations will be illustrated at the press conference organised next January in Rome by the Prosciutto di San Daniele Consortium, which will also be attended by the Institutions that have followed the text’s revision process.