It is an unusual situation that Italian prosciutto cannot be imported.

The background is ASF = African swine fever, an infectious disease of pigs that was confirmed to occur in January in Italy.

In response to this, Japan has stopped importing Italian prosciutto and salami.

In particular, prosciutto ham has a large impact because imports from Italy accounted for about 70% of the total, and importers and restaurants that have come here and have run out of stock are busy dealing with it.

"I've recovered from the Korona-ka ..."

"I'm recovering from the corona sickness, and I'm at a loss what to do when the Italian prosciutto is gone,"

says Seiya Yoshida, the owner and chef of an Italian restaurant in Miyakojima-ku, Osaka. ..

At this restaurant, the all-you-can-eat prosciutto from Parma, Italy, which is the signature menu, is in danger of survival.

Currently, we are offering prosciutto ham that was procured before imports were stopped, but it is said that new purchases have become difficult since around March, and inventories are gradually decreasing.

For this reason, the store is considering switching to Spanish prosciutto, but the price of Spanish ham is originally higher than that of Italian ham, and orders are concentrated due to the suspension of imports, so the price is 2 more than usual. It means that it is relatively expensive.

Seiya Yoshida of "Italian Bar ORA" said, "I was shocked when I heard that imports were suspended. I have to think about how to make all-you-can-eat prosciutto, which is popular with customers, in the future." rice field.

Impact on major restaurant chains

The impact also extends to major restaurant chains.

"Saizeriya" is scheduled to be discontinued as soon as "Aged Milano Salami" is out of stock and "Prosciutto" is out of stock.

What is ASF behind the suspension of imports of Italian ham?

ASF, an infectious disease of pigs, is behind the suspension of imports of Italian prosciutto.

ASF has not been confirmed to occur in Japan, but it has been confirmed to occur in Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Although it does not infect humans, the case fatality rate is almost 100% when pigs are infected, and there is concern that if it occurs in Japan, it will have a major impact on the livestock industry.

In Italy, the outbreak of ASF was confirmed this January.

In response to this, Japan decided to suspend imports of pork and processed pork products.

Some importers are busy securing alternatives

Of these, prosciutto is the one whose influence is becoming more apparent.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, although there are variations depending on the year, Italian products account for about 70% of the import volume, so importers are busy securing alternatives.

An import company in Ashiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, imports about 20 to 30 tons of prosciutto from Italy every year, but it is said that it has not been able to purchase at all due to the suspension of imports.

The company has been able to overcome the urgent need by purchasing prosciutto from Spain and France from another importer, which it has not handled so far in order to respond to orders from restaurants.

Even if we try to develop new ones, we cannot import them immediately ...

Under such circumstances, the company is now paying new attention to Slovenia, a country in central Europe.

Slovenian prosciutto has not been widely distributed in Japan until now, but since the flavor is similar to that of Italian ham, the person in charge flew to the site from last month to negotiate with the start of import. I am.

However, it is said that it is not possible to import immediately because it is necessary to thoroughly manage hygiene locally in order to newly import, but I would like to manage to realize it.

Ryo Nakagawa, General Manager of the "Progress" Alexandre Division, said, "To be honest, the suspension of imports of Italian ham is a big blow to management. We will switch to an opportunity to sell new products such as Slovenian products to Japan. There is no choice but to do so. I think that the amount of Italian ham will decrease in the future, so I hope that the import suspension measures will be lifted as soon as possible. "

What is the outlook for the future?

It is the future to be worried about.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the resumption of imports will be approved after Italy, which has confirmed the occurrence of ASF, declares "cleaning" and then undergoes a field survey by the Japanese government and examination by experts.

However, there is no prospect that the import suspension measures will be lifted so far, so the impact may be prolonged.