This study investigates whether dry-cured hams from two European countries can be distinguished using SDS-PAGE. Thirty-seven commercial hams (19 Spanish, 18 French) were used in the study. Four protein fractions were extracted from each sample, with sufficient material prepared to allow each fraction to be analysed in triplicate lanes. The complete extraction process was carried out in duplicate. The 24 specimens originating from each ham sample were randomly allocated to different lane positions and gels, as were at least two reference lanes (for reference proteins). In total, 118 gels were prepared. Mathematical routines were developed using a matrix language to process the gel image files. Procedures were written to carry out ‘within-gel’ image correction, lane extraction and normalization, ‘between-gel’ data registration and linear discriminant analysis (LDA) of each fraction's data to establish whether the provenance could be systematically distinguished. The between-gel registration was carried out using a genetic algorithm (GA). Feature selection was also performed using a GA, to pass subsets of features to the LDA routine. Cross-validated classification success rates were 84, 91, 81 and 85%, respectively, for the four fractions. We conclude that SDS-PAGE can be conducted in a sufficiently quantitative manner and can potentially verify the provenance of regional speciality dry-cured hams.