David Frum

04.30.13

The War on Salami Finally Ends!

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Free trade comes at last to the salami industry, reports the New York Times:

The United States Department of Agriculture will relax a decades-long ban on the importation of many Italian cured-pork meat products from some regions of Italy starting May 28, including sought-after staples such as salami.

On Friday, the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services announced that an in-country assessment had determined that four regions and two provinces of Italy are free of swine vesicular disease, a dangerous communicable ailment that infects pigs, and that “the importation of pork or pork products from these areas presents a low risk.”

The end of the war on salami will come as welcome relief to Americans like Rey Knight. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2010 on the post-underwear-bombing travails of American salami fanciers:

Chefs such as Rey Knight, who once flew from Italy to Miami with a pork shoulder and fennel-pollen salami vacuum-sealed and hidden inside a stainless-steel water bottle. Another time, he says, he hid a 4-pound goose-liver torchon from France inside the belly of a salmon.

Increased scrutiny of international travelers means "I'll have to come up with more creative ways" to get charcuterie into the U.S., says Mr. Knight, whose Knight Salumi Co. sells cured meats to San Diego-area restaurants.

Mr. Knight and other chefs go to such lengths because it is illegal to bring many of the world's most treasured meats into the country. (Fish are OK.) The government calls this smuggling. But chefs say their motives are mainly educational: They use them to reverse-engineer their own versions.