Strap seals for hams: The basis of the Ibérico Quality Standard
One of the main objectives of the 2014 Ibérico Quality Standard was to clarify the information that the consumer has access to when buying these products. The tool chosen for this was security seals. That is why the life cycle of strap seals and Ibérico hams is key in the fight against fraud in the food industry. What role do strap seals for hams play in this ecosystem? What types of seals for cured ham do the regulations require?
How are the strap seal and the tag different?
The Interprofessional Association of the Ibérico Pig (ASICI) is in charge of managing the sealing of Ibérico products, to identify and ensure traceability and transparency in the production and marketing of Ibérico hams and pork loin. To do this, it relies on two key elements: the seals and the tags for hams.
- Strap seals for hams: the safety seal used for hams, a loop type that includes a flag together with an adjustable strap that prevents manipulation. It is made of plastic and it is fastened to the hock of the leg of ham. The Ibérico Quality Standard requires that these strap seals for hams be colour-coded corresponding to the product (white, green, red and black).
- Tags for hams: these cover the ham below the strap seal and are usually made of cardboard or plastic. There are no rules regarding the colour of the tag, but they must reflect the same information as the security seals.
What information do the seals for cured ham and the tags carry?
The information on the strap seals for hams and the tags must match and follow the rules established by the Ibérico Quality Standard. It should include:
- Type of product: if it is a front leg or a back leg of ham, on the one hand, and if it is loin or cured loin, on the other.
- Type of diet: based on acorns, free-range animal feed or animal feed.
- Breed of the pig: the strap seal and the tag must show the animal’s Ibérico breed percentage.
- Quality standard and certificate: if the product follows the Ibérico Quality Standard, this identification must appear on the security seal. The tag must show the name or acronym of the certifying company that endorses the control of the product.
- Logos: the security strap seal must have the ASICI logo on the flag.
If the ham belongs to a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), the tag must carry that PDO’s logo and comply with the specific requirements set by each PDO. Currently in Spain there are four: Guijuelo, Dehesa de Extremadura, Jabugo and Los Pedroches.
The Ten Lok seal, fundamental for the Ibérico Quality Standard
The model of seal used by the ASICI is the Precintia Ten Lok for its useful characteristics:
– It is made of a material that combines strength and elasticity: nylon.
– It has casing between the flag and the loop that makes it possible to avoid manipulations since it hides the metal insert.
– It uses laser marking which has a very high security level, since it can not be erased.