Thursday 5 May 2016

Italian cured meats can now be imported into the USA - USDA lifts ban

Are you among the legions of American visitors to Italy who wanted to take home a whole prosciutto (or at least a good selection of salumi) but were disappointed to discover that the import of most Italian cured meats into the States has long been prohibited? Good news! It seems - note, seems - that from 28 May 2013, Italian cured meats can now be imported into the USA.

Italian cured meats can now be imported in to the USA
Italian cured meats - a new addition to what you can take home from Tuscany?

The USDA lifted its absolute ban on Italian raw, cured meat products in 1989, when prosciutto from Parma and San Daniele was allowed back into the USA after a 22-year absence. Now, according to ANSA, the Italian wire service, the USDA ban on the import of Italian cured meats from factories too small to support a full-time USDA inspector will be lifted starting on 28 May this year.

This is great news for visitors to Tuscany who now have the chance to extend their Tuscan experience by carrying back a good supply of their favorite Tuscan cold cuts. This also expands the options for convenient gifts for the folks back home - some salamini alla cacciatora here, a block of lardo toscano there. What could be a better way to share the experience? (And to "win friends and influence people" - it's not just the Napoleonic army that marches on its stomach!)

There is a huge array of Tuscan cured meats, many of them produced by small, artisanal outlets, that has never been available in the States. With a bit of luck, this will now change as importers move to fill what I believe is a true market void. In addition, there are good suppliers in Tuscany whose offerings can be ordered via the internet. 

HOWEVER, dear readers, the exact rules are still fuzzy and TUSCANY is NOT on the most recent list of Regions of Italy free of swine vesicular disease. Check back here - I will be updating as the USDA clarifies the new rules.

More about Tuscan culinary specialities.

Tuscan porcini mushroom - how to recognise, collect and cook them.

Bistecca all fiorentina - select and cook it properly.

Author: Anna Maria Baldini

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