Celebrating industry achievements this Australian Ham Week
6 December 2014
This Australian Ham Week we can all celebrate our high-quality, fully home-grown and produced ham and also recognise the Australian pork industry’s world leading achievements in welfare and quality assurance.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, congratulated the overall winner of the Australian Best Ham title, Sunshine Meats in Milperra, New South Wales, and acknowledged the six category winners as well as all 123 entries for this year’s awards.
“As Australian Ham Week draws to an end, I encourage consumers to recognise the excellence in Australian grown and produced ham and urge them to choose Australian next time they shop,” Minister Joyce said.
“I hope that this Christmas all Australians choose locally grown and produced ham for their traditional feast, and look to the distinctive pink Australian PorkMark label when buying their Christmas Ham.”
Minister Joyce said that Australian Ham Week was also a great opportunity to acknowledge the work of Australian Pork Ltd (APL) in fostering important changes throughout the industry in recent years.
“The Australian pork industry is establishing itself as a world leader in pig welfare with the continued voluntary removal of sow stalls and the acceptance of a world class, industry-led quality assurance system,” Minister Joyce said.
“Australian Pork Ltd’s 2015—2020 Strategic Plan, launched in August, is continuing to be implemented and is achieving increased uptake of sow stall free facilities. Current industry figures show that around 70 per cent of sows are now gestation stall free, meaning that for at least 90 per cent of their pregnancy sows are loose or group housed.
“This is a world-first initiative, unmatched by any other pork producing country and I commend Australian Pork Limited’s commitment to phasing out the use of sow stalls by the end of 2017.”
Minister Joyce said in addition to key welfare outcomes the pork industry had also taken an important step in quality assurance for consumers with the high take up of an on-farm quality assurance scheme based on managing farm risks.
“Australia’s pork producers can boast 90 per cent of national herds as now being Australian Pork Industry Quality, receiving certification under the industry scheme,” Minister Joyce said.
The Australian Pork Industry Quality Assurance Program (APIQ ® ) certifies pork producers who demonstrate good farming practice for management, animal welfare, biosecurity, food safety and traceability.
“Systems like this are central to maintaining market access and assuring community and consumer trust in the safety and integrity of Australian pork and pork products,” Minister Joyce said.
“There is strong demand around the world for the clean and green food Australia is renowned for and consumers will pay a premium for that quality.”
Minister Joyce said Australia’s pork industry has set the bar as leaders of voluntarily changing industry practices that result in more predictable returns and outcomes for producers and the Australian community.
“Central to APL’s strategic plan was anticipating and responding to emerging consumer opportunities and community expectations while contributing to the improvement and certainty of pig producer returns and they have done exactly that,” Minister Joyce said.
“I believe all Australians can feel proud of the pork industry and its commitment to operating responsibly and ethically in the production of nutritious and affordable, high-quality meat.”
To view Australian Pork Limited’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, visit www.australianpork.com.au