Prosciutto di San Daniele comes from the wise hands of the master prosciutto makers who, applying strict procedures, turn meat and salt into a masterpiece of taste and subtlety.
But before it reaches the table, this cured meat passes many inspections and tests, which start from the origin of the animals and of the farms, up to the sales channel. Moreover, since 1996 Prosciutto di San Daniele is recognized as a product with a Protected Designation of Origin from the European Union and it has therefore been certified with the DOP brand.
DOP products are characterised by their area of origin, which must be exclusive and restricted, and by the strict use of a rigorous manufacturing process.
Every step of the whole supply chain complies with the rules of the Product Specification which sets rigorously every aspect of the production of Prosciutto DOP. This important document has been created by the Consorteum of Prosciutto di San Daniele and directly approved by the European Union.
The origins :the checks on animals and farms
To date the production chain has 3.626 farms, 45 slaughterhouses, 550 workers and 31 production plants. A controlled supply chain, where every aspect follows the rules of the Product Specification. Where does this supply chain start from? The first item is the raw material, that is, the pigs, whose hind legs will be used for the production of Prosciutto di San Daniele. The farms on which the pigs used for production grow are selected and and undergo strict checks. They are in ten regions of central and northern Italy: Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Latium, Abruzzo, Marche, Umbria.
The selection of the pigs is just as strict. They must come from the Large White, Landrace and Italian Duroc breeds, pure or cross-bred, always keeping in with what is provided by the Italian Herd Book.
In the Product Specification all the permitted breeding crosses, in compliance with the genetic types are explained. Besides, thanks to a pig DNA data bank, it is possible to run a further check of the genetic types that are used, to detect frauds and counterfeiting of the genetical type.
The animals undergo weight controls, always according to the guidelines of the Product Specification: the pigs must must have an average weight of 160 kilograms when they are alive and each thigh must weight at least 12 kilograms, with a determined ratio of lean mass and fat layer.
The production process
In compliance with the DOP, the 31 firms that are in the Consorteum are in the town of San Daniele del Friuli. Here the pork legs are processed and aged, undergoing further checks to meet all the aesthetic and physiological requisites.
All the pig hind legs that will become Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP reach the prosciutto factory with a tattoo which contains specific information about where they come from: the origin code, the identification code of the farm, the month of birth of the pig and the identification code of the slaughterhouse. This information is a kind of “identity card” of every prosciutto, and makes it possible to track the origin of every animal of the supply chain, if needed.
Every pork leg is then stamped with the date when the processing began, to accurately calculate the ripening length.
Also during the aging period Prosciutto di San Daniele undergoes various checks. For example, one of the tests that are carried out before the fire stamping of the pork legs with the stamp of the Consorteum of San Daniele, is called “ spiking”. It is to insert into the pork leg a special tool that enables us to assess the state of the product. If the prosciutto meets the parameters stated in the Product Specification of the DOP Prosciutto di San Daniele and has aged for at least 13 months we can proceed with the fire stamp.
The traceability of the trays
From the pork leg to every single slice of Prosciutto: the check of the supply chain doesn’t end in the prosciutto factories, but goes on in the sale channels, up to the table. On every tray of pre-sliced prosciutto there is in fact a QR Code that directs you to the website of the traceability of Prosciutto di San Daniele.
All you need to do is frame the code or enter it in the website to find out the origins of the prosciutto that you are eating. This way also the consumer can check every step and get to know the origin of the pigs, the farms and the production plants.
Besides simplifying the communication between the firm and the consumer with a view to transparency, this system enables us to create a digital data bank where we can store the documentation about traceability and thanks to this we can test the verified quality of the raw materials used in the production plants.