Iberian Ham

Black label ham, a very expensive mistake

Jamón etiqueta negra, un error muy caro

Many consumers buy black label ham thinking that they are buying the highest quality Iberian ham. However, when they taste it, they discover that the taste does not correspond to the high end, but rather to a cheap ham.

What has happened? In this article we explain it to you and we give you some tips to avoid it.

“The black color of the ham label is misleading”

Consumers are beginning to become familiar with the color classification of the different qualities of ham, which uses the black color of the seal for the highest quality ham; acorn-fed 100% Iberian ham.

This regulation, included in the Iberian quality standard, determines the colors for the seals or flanges of the hams, and not for the labels. Leaving total freedom to the producers regarding the color they wish to use for the label or band.

Ham offers black label. Separate the wheat from the chaff.

It is easy to find many examples of offers of black label hams and shoulders that are not authentic pata negra hams.

“Discard all offers of black label hams that do not have the official black seal”

Many companies are using the claim of the black label in hams that are not acorn, and sometimes not Iberian, aware that the general public usually associates the highest quality black color with the label, and not with the seal. Since they do not know in depth the details that regulate the qualities of the ham. These offers do not carry the black identifying seal of the highest category.

Although this is a legal practice, we understand that it is a commercial strategy that lacks transparency.

How to identify the real black label ham?

If you want to buy an authentic black label ham or black label shoulder, you can easily identify it by looking at these three details:

  • The official black seal.
  • The vitola or label
  • The price

The seal or flange. This is the fundamental element to identify a ham of the highest quality. The quality standard for ham requires that all 100% Iberian acorn-fed hams or shoulders (the highest quality) must carry an official black seal with the ASICI logo and a control number.

Therefore, we must discard all offers of hams that use the “black label” claim that do not have this official seal.

Vitola or label. The label must include the sales denomination (name of the product) correctly, with the following terms and in this order: 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham. The words “Pata negra” can be added to this name.

Both the official seal and the name described on the label are mandatory in this quality of hams, and individual use in others that have not followed the production parameters set out in the standard that regulates the quality of ham are totally prohibited.

The price. Unfortunately there are no great deals on black label ham or black label shoulders. The production of this type of hams that come from animals reared extensively has high costs. An abnormally low price offer should alert us to the authenticity of the ham.

An interesting tip …

Taking into account that black label ham is the most expensive and probably not available to all budgets, the quality standard contemplates another very similar acorn ham with a more affordable price; ham red label.

In the following link you have a comparison between the black and red label ham where the differences are analyzed, and the usual price range between both.

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