In the last two years or so, China has begun producing hams, utilizing a similar curing process as jamon serrano from Spain. It seems impossible to think that in 2008 the Spanish were still fighting for approval to export their hams to China, with the Chinese government insisting that a trade group visit the processing plants in Spain to "verify sanitary conditions." Two years later, the Chinese began producing hams in just 7 short months, of seemingly comparable quality, for half the price. While in Spain, the Serrano hams are cured from 9 to 15 months, and Iberico hams can be cured up to 36 months.
Spanish hams are produced under strict quality control measures, and some by official Denominations of Origin. However, the Chinese are currently producing over 200,000 hams annually, with the intention of eventually exporting to the west, including Europe. In the last decade, food imports from China to the USA have more than tripled and so have concerns involving China's weak enforcement of food safety standards, use of agricultural chemicals, and environmental pollution. There have been several highly publicized cases of tainted imports from China, so we ask our readers - Would you buy the Chinese version of jamon serrano?
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