The Swedish government has confirmed that it is close to signing an agreement for the export of pig ears to China, where the anatomical organ is a sought-after delicacy.
In Sweden pig ears, along with tails and feet, fetch a low price and are often simply thrown away in the slaughter process. In China however the items are in high demand.
“The Chinese use these parts as exclusive details,” said Sofia Jöngren at the Ministry for Rural Affairs to the political trade publication Riksdag & Departement.
The Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) and National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket) have been working on securing an export agreement for several years, the newspaper reports.
“We think an agreement is close. We feel that we have received positive signals,” Jöngren said.
The agreement would be of significant value to Swedish farmers as only Germany and Denmark have managed to secured similar agreements among the EU countries.
But certain issues remain unresolved and Chinese authorities are expected to conduct an inspection of Swedish pork products production to ensure that hygiene standards are met.
In Chinese cuisine a pig’s ear is often served as an appetizer or a side dish. The delicacy can be either boiled or stewed and is typically served thinly sliced and accompanied by soy sauce and spiced with chili paste.