A virtuous-supply-chain project for Prosciutto di Parma PDO debuts

The goal is to improve sustainability standards in breeding farms through animal welfare
A virtuous-supply-chain project for Prosciutto di Parma PDO debuts

A virtuous and more sustainable supply chain for Prosciutto di Parma PDO: this is the goal of PARSUTT – PARma ham high SUsTainability sTandard (“parsutt” means “ham” in Parmesan dialect). The project is coordinated by the Animal Production Research Centre – CRPA of Reggio Emilia and funded by the Emilia-Romagna Region. It involves the protection Consortium, a select number of supply chain operators – producers, breeders, slaughterers – and benefits from the support of technical and scientific partners such as the University of Milan – Department of Veterinary Medicine, the CSQA Certification Body and Dinamica training organization.

PARSUTT provides a virtuous model to all the players in the Prosciutto di Parma PDO production chain, in order to encourage them to adopt higher sustainability standards. The focus is on issues such as animal welfare, prudent use of drugs and biosecurity. Special attention will be given to breeding and slaughtering, where the project aims to identify, develop and promote concrete indicators for obtaining an increasingly environmentally-friendly Prosciutto di Parma PDO. A product capable of meeting the requirements and needs of modern consumers, more and more concerned about the sustainability of the food they buy.

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For a long time we have been promoting awareness for a sustainable supply chain, and with this project we want to offer a concrete stimulus towards changes which can no longer be put off. Today, more than ever, it is important to realize that a different way is not only possible but increasingly in demand by our consumers and by the market” – says Vittorio Capanna, president of the Prosciutto di Parma PDO’s protection Consortium.


PARSUTT will analyze the main national and international specifications and guidelines, providing for high standards of animal welfare in pig farms. The aim is to make 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. PARSUTT 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 technical specification of Prosciutto di Parma PDO 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 supply-chain players. In addition, an instruction manual and verification tools – such as a checklist for data collection in the breeding farms and a software for the verification of compliance with the protocol parameters – will be made.

Click here to discover the Prosciutto di Parma PDO protection Consortium’s member companies

The technical specification also includes an innovative system of traceability of Prosciutto di Parma PDO thighs processed according to this virtuous model along the entire supply chain, from breeding stage to the aging and sale.

All the players within the supply chain will be able to access a tested breeding specification capable of increasing the profitability and competitiveness, meeting the latest consumers demands in terms of the food production ethics and sustainability. At the same time, a certification process will be set up and started for all the companies participating in the project.


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 analyzed, 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, a careful study of the domestic and international markets will make it possible to estimate the consumers’ propensity to purchase animal-friendly Prosciutto di Parma PDO.

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