Among many other culinary distinctions, Italy is known for its high-quality cured meats, which carry the unique signatures of the areas where they’re created. However, many of them have been banned in the US for decades, often turning meat-loving tourists into unwitting smugglers. On May 28, that ban will be relaxed for cured pork products from certain Italian regions and provinces, including Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, and Bolzano. Assuming they pass further regulations, some of these items — including sopressata, pancetta, and a variety of different salamis — should start appearing in local meat cases around the country.
What’s the Big Idea?
Prior to the lifting of the ban, very few Italian meats were permitted into the US. The US Department of Agriculture has determined that the pigs in the above-mentioned regions are free of swine vesicular disease, a virus-based disease originally detected in the 1960s that can survive both long curing and cooking. In Italy, many of these meats have been celebrated for centuries, with towns holding week-long folk festivals around them. Prices for the new items have not been set.