Aussie pig farmers feel the pinch as imports rise

A rise in imported pre-cooked pork products is heading to the foodservice sector


Open House Magazine (Australia)

June 15, 2017


The Australian pork industry has been competing with imported processed pork, such as bacon and ham, for more than a decade, but now cuts like bellies are being imported and sold cooked to cafes and restaurants.


Australian Pork Limited CEO Andrew Spencer says the cheap, pre-cooked products were mostly destined for the hospitality industry.


“Our farmers have been competing with cheap pork imports for years, but until now it had been mostly in the ham, bacon and smallgoods space,” he said.


“What we’re seeing now is a sudden influx of pre-cooked imported pork being sold into restaurants, takeaway outlets and hotels.”


Ribs from North America and Europe that have been cooked and packaged are also hitting the market.


“We are seeing processed ribs that are able to just sit on a shelf for 12-24 months with no refrigeration,” Spencer said.


“They’ve basically been sterilised in the pack and consumers have no idea. All fresh pork sold in Australia is from our Australian pig farmers, but there is no labelling requirement on meat served in restaurants and across the hospitality industry. That leaves consumers in the dark about the quality and origin of the pork they are eating.”


As food service outlets opt for the cheaper ribs, Australian pork farmers are feeling the pinch.


“Pork’s popularity is growing in Australia, but these imports are a significant challenge for our farmers,” Spencer said...