The goal: improve sustainability standards in breeding farms | Prosciutto di Parma launches a virtuous supply chain project

The goal: improve sustainability standards in breeding farms | Prosciutto di Parma launches a virtuous supply chain project


Focus on animal welfare, responsible drug use and biosecurity

A virtuous and more sustainable supply chain for Parma Ham. This is the goal of PARSUTT – PARma ham high SUsTainability sTandard, the project coordinated by the Animal Production Research Centre – CRPA of Reggio Emilia and funded by the Emilia-Romagna Region, which involves the direct participation of the protection Consortium, a select number of supply chain operators – producers, breeders,  slaughterers – and benefits from the support of other technical and scientific partners, such as the University of Milan – Department of Veterinary Medicine, the CSQA Certification Body and the training organization Dinamica Soc. Cons. a r.l.

PARSUTT provides a virtuous model to all the links of the Parma Ham production chain, in order to encourage them to adopt higher sustainability standards than those set out by current legislation on issues such as animal welfare, prudent use of drugs and biosecurity. Special attention is given to the first links of the supply chain, breeding and slaughtering, where the project aims to identify, develop and promote concrete indicators for obtaining an increasingly environmentally-friendly Parma Ham, capable of meeting the requirements of modern consumers concerned about the sustainability of production and of the food they buy.

Launching this project was of crucial importance to us, because we want to send a clear message to the supply chain and to the Institutions, so that they take all necessary measures to develop the pig sector, making it more innovative and sustainable in every way. We have been promoting awareness for a long time and with this project we want to offer a concrete stimulus towards changes which can no longer be put off. Similarly, through its Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategy, the European Commission has outlined a general renewal process to which the entire Parma Ham sector must adhere. Today, more than ever, it is important to realize that a different way is not only possible but is increasingly in demand by our consumers and by the market. We are sure that this initiative can lead the way and include more and more production businesses, because we give continuity to our age-old history and, small step by small step, build the future to come.

Vittorio Capanna, President of the Parma Ham Consortium


It gives CRPA great satisfaction to be working with the Consortium and the other partners in planning a virtuous supply chain capable of providing an already highly-renowned product with additional guarantees, so as to meet the growing expectations of consumers. We are happy to be able to make our technical expertise available for this ambitious project which involves all links of the production chain and which will impact sustainability in all its aspects: animal welfare, reduction of drug use, environmental and economic sustainability. We are sure that the results will be extremely interesting and we will work to ensure that they represent a model which can be applied by everyone in the pig sector who wants to move forward in this direction.

Adelfo Magnavacchi, Executive Director of CRPA


The project

PARSUTT will analyse the main national and international specifications and guidelines providing for high standards of animal welfare in pig farms in order to produce a list of relevant parameters in preparation for improvements shared by key stakeholders in the sector and studied by a group of international scientific experts who will also identify the threshold levels for each parameter. In defining these parameters, the project will also take into consideration the information about animal welfare and biosecurity provided by ClassyFarm and the National Quality System for Animal Welfare – SQNBA, produced by the Italian Ministries of Health and of Agriculture.

The next phase will involve the drafting of a protocol – the technical specification of Parma Ham with high standards of animal welfare, high biosecurity levels and including information on how to use antibiotics responsibly. The document will be used as a voluntary standards reference, drawn up with the consensus of the interested parties. In addition to the protocol, an instruction manual and verification tools – such as a checklist for data collection in the breeding farms and a computer programme for the verification of compliance with the protocol parameters – will be produced.

The technical specification also includes an innovative system of trackability and traceability of Parma hams processed according to this virtuous model along the entire supply chain, from the breeding stage to the maturation hams and their sale, through a new method of information gathering at all stages of the production process which makes it possible to verify, identify and trace back each individual operation.

The different links of the supply chain will be able to access a tested breeding specification capable of increasing the profitability and competitiveness of individual companies by meeting the more current demands of consumers in terms of the ethics and sustainability of food products.

At the same time, a certification process will be set up and started for the companies participating in the project.

The project will involve a number of pilot companies where it will carry out a technical and economic analysis of possible critical issues to be resolved with the next implementation of improvement measures.

It also envisages the verification of the economic and environmental sustainability of the application of the protocol along the entire supply chain through the quantification of investment and management costs and their general impact on the production of Parma Ham. As for the environment, the carbon footprint will be calculated by using the Life Cycle Assessment method, which makes it possible to quantify impacts associated with all stages of the life cycle of the product being analysed, in order to identify the more critical production stages and possible measures for reducing their environmental impact. CSQA will be the partner organization dealing with the certification activities for this important project.

Finally, careful study of the national and international market will make it possible to estimate the consumer’s propensity to purchase animal-friendly Parma Ham and its acceptance by large retailers and to prepare possible marketing strategies.

The Parma Ham virtuous supply chain project will also feature a structured training and dissemination program on animal welfare, biosecurity and prudent drug use, which will involve breeders and company veterinarians in provinces in the Emilia region provinces with a high density of pig farms. Communication of the new model will take place through a dedicated website, workshops with “virtual” visits to the pilot companies, conferences and information material.

Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma
Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma - Largo Calamandrei, 1/A - 43100 Parma - Italy - Phone: 0521.246211 - Fax 0521 243983
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