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Prosciutto di Parma starts a virtuous supply chain project

Develop and promote concrete indicators to obtain a more environmentally friendly product

"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 center (Crpa) of Reggio Emilia and financed by the Emilia-Romagna region, with the direct participation of the protection consortium, of a selected number of operators in the supply chain and that avails itself of the support of other technical-scientific partners such as the University of Milan - veterinary medicine department, the certification body (Csqa) and the dynamic training body Soc. Cons. a rl.

Parsutt provides a virtuous model to all links in the Parma ham production chain so that they adopt higher sustainability standards than those imposed by current legislation on issues such as animal welfare, prudent use of drugs and biosecurity. Particular attention is paid to the first links of the supply chain, breeding and slaughtering, where the project aims to identify, develop and promote concrete indicators to obtain an increasingly respectful Parma ham, capable of grasping the demands of the modern consumer attentive to the sustainability of productions and the food it buys.

The project will analyze the main national and international regulations and guidelines that provide for high standards of animal welfare in pig farms in order to determine a list of relevant and preparatory parameters for improvement shared by the main stakeholders and studied by a group of scientific experts which will also identify the threshold levels for each parameter. In defining these parameters, the indications relating to animal welfare and biosecurity reported in Classyfarm and in the national quality system for animal welfare (Sqnba) conducted by the Ministry of Health and Mipaaf will also be taken into consideration.

The next phase involves the drafting of a protocol, the technical specification of Parma ham with high standards of animal welfare, high levels of biosecurity and with indications for a responsible use of antibiotics. The document will be used as a voluntary regulatory reference, prepared with the consent of the interested parties. Together with the protocol, a manual will also be produced with relevant instructions and verification tools, such as a checklist for data collection on the farm and a computer program for verifying compliance with the protocol parameters. The technical specification is also designed to contain an innovative management system for the traceability and traceability of hams processed according to this virtuous model along the entire supply chain, from the breeding phase to the seasoning of the ham and its marketing through a new method of harvesting information in all phases of the production process that allows you to verify and identify each single action carried out backwards.

The various links in the supply chain will be able to access a tested breeding specification capable of increasing the profitability and competitiveness of individual companies, responding to the most current consumer requests regarding ethical and sustainable production certification for the companies participating in the project. The project will involve some pilot companies where technical-economic analyzes of possible critical points to be solved with the subsequent implementation of improvement interventions will be carried out. It is also foreseen the verification of the economic and environmental sustainability of the application of the protocol on the whole supply chain with the quantification of the investment and management costs and their general impact on the production of Parma ham. In the environmental field, the carbon footprint will be calculated through the use of the Life Cycle Assessment methodology which allows to quantify the impacts in relation to the phases of the life cycle of the analyzed product, in order to identify the most critical production phases and possible interventions improvements that make it possible to reduce the environmental impact. Csqa will be the partner organization that will handle the certification activities for this job.

Finally, a careful study of the national and international market will make it possible to evaluate the consumer's propensity to purchase animal-friendly Parma ham and its acceptance by large retailers and to define possible marketing strategies. An articulated training and dissemination plan will also follow which envisages the involvement of farmers and company veterinarians in the Emilia provinces with a high concentration of pigs on animal welfare, biosecurity and prudent use of the drug. The communication of the new model will take place through a dedicated website, seminars with “virtual” visits to the pilot companies, conferences and information material.

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