If you've noticed a rise in "house-cured meats" on restaurant menus lately, you're not the only one. For a few years now, it seems every chef with a meat grinder has felt compelled to test his/her hand at charcuterie.
What you might not have realized is that this seemingly random trend could have had a lot to do with an FDA ban on importing Italian cured meats.
The administration banned imported prosciutto for 22 years before lifting that regulation in 1989. Now, according to the Italian wire service Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata, the FDA has lifted the ban against cured-pork meat imports.
ANSA reported Friday that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services announced the FDA ban would be lifted on Sunday, May 28.
The news comes not long after the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services announced that they found the areas of Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and Piemonte and others to be free of swine vesicular disease. Their research said "the importation of pork or pork products from these areas presents a low risk of introducing swine vesicular disease into the United States." Good job, pigs.
For a primer on how salami is made and why there's a risk for illness, check out the video below in which Andrew Zimmern makes salami with Mike Phillips, a chef in Minnesota.
Imported cured meats from large plants have been allowed in the U.S. for years, as the L.A. Times mentions. But the majority of small artisan producers who can't afford to follow FDA regulations or pay for an inspector will now be able to get their products into the U.S. market.
An Italian farmer's organization, Coldiretti estimates that the ban cost the industry more than 250 million euros per year in lost exports.