Frequently asked ham and bacon questions

Just found out majority of ham and bacon is made using imported pork? Have some questions why this is so?
Below are the answers to our most common questions.
Can’t find want you want to know? Contact us at porkmark@australianpork.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't I find ham and bacon made with Australian pork that has 100% Australian ingredients on the bar chart? Why is it no higher than 97%

Usually, the bar chart on the label of your Australian ham and bacon will show 97% Australian ingredients. This means the pork used in the product is 100% Australian, but some of the other ingredients, like speciality cures and salts, aren’t manufactured in Australia. These ingredients are different to regular salts (which there is plenty of in Australia).

Why can bacon and ham be imported into Australia?

Australia does not currently produce enough pork to make ALL the ham and bacon we consume. Due to this shortfall, some imported pork must be used to make ham and bacon.

The Federal Government allowed pork imports in the early 1990s. Australia is a trading nation and depends on access to overseas markets to export our products. As a general principle, this access is reciprocal – if Australia wants to access other countries’ markets, then those countries should be allowed to access our market.

Australia’s obligation to remain open to imports is part of our membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which helps to keep international trade free and fair. When imports were allowed, there were conditions put upon this, which were science-based and necessary to help preserve Australia’s unique disease-free status.

Is bacon and ham with a green and gold kangaroo made from Australian pork?

Unfortunately, the green and gold kangaroo on pack alone does not mean the product is made using Australian pork. The kangaroo only signifies that the product was made in Australia, not necessarily from Australian grown produce. To ensure the ham and bacon you’re buying is made from Australian pork, check the bar chart below the kangaroo on the country of origin label shows more than 90% Australian ingredients.

There is imported ham and bacon in the deli as well as in the chiller section of supermarkets. However, all products legally must carry the country-of-origin label, whether they are sold loose or packaged. If you’re not sure which products are Australian in the deli, you can ask the deli assistant or manager.

Where can I buy Aussie ham and bacon?

Lots of local butchers in Australia make their own smallgoods using Australian pork. If you need help finding a butcher near you, feel free to get in touch with us and we can help you out or check out our where to buy page.

Do we export any ham and bacon?

Australia only exports approximately 10% of the pork we produce, much of which is offal which has low demand here in Australia.

Where does imported ham and bacon come from?

Of the imported pork that comes into Australia, almost half is from the US. The rest being from Europe, predominantly the Netherlands and Denmark. A small amount is also imported from Canada.

Is imported pork safe to eat?

Any pork imported into Australia must be cooked to government defined, high temperatures for set periods of time, prior to being sold. This protects our pig herd from diseases we don’t have in Australia. Once the heating process has taken place, this imported pork is only allowed to be used in processed pork products.

Why do the supermarkets not stock more Aussie ham and bacon?

Australia does not currently produce enough pork to make ALL the ham and bacon we consume. Due to this shortfall, some imported pork must be used to make ham and bacon.

By law, every food product in the supermarket has a country-of-origin label that helps you identify if the food you’re choosing is made from imported or local ingredients. To find ham and bacon made using Australian pork, look for a bar chart on the label that is almost full, or over 90%.

What about other smallgoods like salami?

Most smallgoods like salami and pepperoni are made with Australian pork. Most salamis are cured but uncooked, meaning they cannot be imported. But watch out for products like devon, mortadella, hot dogs, and cabanossi. These can be made from imported pork.