Now I am angry… this pork thing is just wrong

Now I am just plain cross… its Pork AGAIN
Did you know that in excess of 80% of all ham and bacon made in this country is made from imported pork?
I got so worked up about this I decided to speak to the peak body in Canberra. Australian Pork is the name and they are very helpful, if not a bit depressing. I was flabbergasted when they confirmed that this is indeed the fact and that imported pork from both Canada the USA and Denmark form the basis of over 80% of all pork meat coming into this country.
What the hell are we doing forcing our own growers of quality pork out of business so that heavily government subsidised meat from over seas can flood into this country?
But wait it gets worse, the pork that is imported to this country to be made into ham in Australia (Made in Australia?) has to have been heat treated for 60 minutes at 56 Celsius then I would imagine frozen, how on earth has it ever come to this? I am not going to name names, but it is correct to say that most of the major manufacturers many of whom sell through leading chains, are doing this. Have you ever wondered why the majority of hams sold in chains and large grocers are boneless and wondered why bone in hams are expensive?
The 80% of hams (and bacon) that are made from imported meat are from three countries which heavily subsidise their farmers, Canada, the USA and Denmark, so this meat comes into Australia at vastly less than the Australian pork farmers could even begin to sell at. However pork meat which contains bones is not permitted into this country, so you can say for sure that the hams and bacons which contain bone, are made from local grown product. Its also fair to say that pork bought at the butcher for domestic consumption is Australian.
It would seem that a level playing field must be created and should pork producers from overseas be able to access huge subsidies, then either the same must be offered to Australian producers or indeed, a penalty placed on imported product that would make its cost comparable to Australian product.
I must confess here that the whole labelling law is for me a sea of confusion, even with the marketing manager of the peak body of the Australian Pork Industry explaining it to me, I am still left in confusion. It seems that we have some flexible positions here and you will find things like… Australian Made, Made in Australia, Product of Australia as the three major possible labelling appellatives.
Lets have a chat about labelling…
Product of Australia… means that all ingredients must originate and almost all manufacturing processing must be done in Australia.
Made in Australia – Australian Made – Manufactured in Australia… the product must be ‘substantially transformed and at least 50% of costs must be incurred in Australia. This is clearly the category that the ham and pork products fall into.
There are other categories… Australian Grown – means that the product must be grown in Australia, Australian Owned is not considered a proper label as it does not give the true position. Companies have been taken to court by the ACCC and local Food Authorities for misleading labels, eg: bacon labelled as ‘Product of Australia’ and ‘100% Australian Meat content’ when patently this was untrue.
We need to be extremely aware and very very careful of what we as food people and foodies, buy and put into our stomachs. But importantly, we need to find ways to give this damned important information to all Australians and allow them to make a decision that is right proper and correct for them. Its true that over 25% of all purchasers will make a choice dependant on cost factors and its hard to condemn them, we are in difficult times.
I have decided to make bacon my campaign for the moment, I have approached several of the winners of the best bacon award and am in the process of getting some of Australia’s finest bacon and when I do, we will have a bacon tasting, sounds ridiculous, but I have a couple of issues, a) the bacon itself and b) the way we cook it. We will explore, I will let you know when.
So dear punters, please lets be aware that we need to be much more active in protecting our industries, farms and farmers, the positive results of this is for us, better and better produce and that cannot be bad.

Pork Fillet stuffed with Apple and Sage
Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius (allow 20 minutes)
I like to use a lidded frying pan for this, obviously one that can go into the oven.
1 x 2 kilo pork loin fillet (you can use the smaller fillets if you wish, they will cook faster, so choose 4 fillets)
1 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
1 apple peeled and grated
8 large sage leaves (chopped in shreds)
10 crushed green peppercorns
1 small eschalot peeled and finely chopped (this is the small usually brown onion that is milder in flavour and is occasionally not easy to find.
1 tblspn butter

Simply place all the ingredients in a basin and mix well, if the mix is too dry, a splash of white wine or even better, some Calvados to keep it moist.

Take the fillet and with a sharp knife remove all sinews and tissue, then run your knife from end to end to make an open pocket, stuff as much filling in without being silly and allowing it to oooze out. Wrap the fillets in bacon, I don’t like to go over board with the bacon, but enough to hold the fillets together, you can anchor the bacon and thus the fillets with toothpicks.

In your chosen frying pan, melt a good tablespoon of butter on a moderate heat and when the butter is sizzling, place the fillet(s) in and allow to slightly brown on each side (front, back and sides if you can) then with your ever present bottle of white wine (Pinot Gris or a good Riesling that has a slight sweetness) a good glass of wine and should you have it to hand, splash of Calvados, bubble this up, top with the lid and into the oven for 35 – 45 minutes until the pork is cooked … don’t over cook as the meat will dry out. Remove from the oven and take the fillet(s) out and place on a tray and cover with foil.

Put the frying pan on to a high heat and begin to reduce the juices, I like to add some thinly sliced apples and some fresh sage leaves to the reducing liquid, you can skim some fat off as you go, when you have reduced the juices by 2/3 rds, add a ½ cup of cream and stir through. Pour the sauce over the pork and serve on a bed of quickly braised spinach.

~ by peterwatson on July 8, 2011.

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