Once we have looked at the plastic seal that the ham has around the “caña” (the shank, the part which is closest to the hoof), we will have to pay special attention to the label or band that the ham has. That label or band is usually placed close to the hock bone, under the “caña”.
What information should be provided on this label or band?
1) First of all, we should see the information about the type of product we have in front of us: ham or shoulder.
2) Secondly, it informs us about the feeding received by the animal from which the product has been obtained. There are 3 types of food according to the 2014 Standard:
B. Cebo de campo.
3) The third aspect that we will find is the information about the purity of the breed of the animal from which this ham or shoulder ham has been obtained. Here we can find:
A.100% Iberian (pure animals).
If the only word that appears is “Iberian”, that means that the product comes from crossed animals. In this case, that information will have to include the precise % of Iberian breed.
There are currently two options:75% Iberian Breed or 50% Iberian Breed.
4) Finally, the caption should also appear: “Certified by”, followed by the name of the company that has been responsible for the certification of these products. In the case of pieces with a Denomination of Origin, the Regulatory Council itself is the one that certifies them.
These four aspects are mandatory if the products are compliant. All the hams or shoulders without this information will be out of the standard or will be considered as possible frauds.
The plastic seals are always the first thing we should look at when buying a ham, but we should not forget to check the information that also appears on the label or band. The information shown in these two elements must be consistent. We can find:
1) For the Black Seal, the label must state: Jamón de Bellota 100% Ibérico.
2) For the Red Seal, the band or label must say: Jamón de Bellota Ibérico. In addition, it should be specified if it is 75% Iberian Breed or 50% Iberian Breed.
3) For the Green Seal, the label must indicate: Jamón de Cebo de Campo 100% Ibérico or Jamón de Cebo de Campo Ibérico. In the second case it should be provided if it is 75% Iberian Breed or 50% Iberian Breed.
4) For the White Seal, the band or label must mention: Jamón de Cebo 100% Ibérico or Jamón de Cebo Ibérico. In the second case it should be provided if it is 75% Iberian Breed or 50% Iberian Breed.
If these coincidences do not occur, something strange may be going on and the product may not comply with the regulations or you may be facing a possible fraud. If you want to have a minimum guarantee, I recommend that you only buy products that are perfectly labelled and identified.