Nitrite-free bacon to launch in UK

In a major development that has been hailed by a top UK food scientist, Naked Bacon will be the first of its kind to be made without cancer-causing chemicals.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 34,000 bowel and colon cancer deaths per year worldwide are directly attributable to diets high in processed meats. The WHO also warns that eating two rashers of nitrite cured bacon per day increases the risk of contracting bowel cancer by 18%.

However, with British-made Naked Bacon hitting supermarket shelves in January, it is anticipated that all that is set to change.

Professor Chris Elliott, who ran the government’s investigation into the 2013 horsemeat scandal and now chairs the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast, comments, “Finnebrogue have used a combination of innovation and natural fruit and spice extracts to come up with a bacon that is made without the need for added nitrites.

“Nitro containing compounds, used in the manufacture of traditional bacons, are known to cause the formation of chemicals that have negative health impacts.

“To have a bacon produced naturally, that doesn’t require such chemicals to be added or formed during processing, is a very welcome development.” Naked Bacon has been developed by the Northern Irish food manufacturer, Finnebrogue. According to the company, it will be the UK’s only bacon to be completely free from nitrites, preservatives, E numbers and all allergens.

Finnebrogue has worked with Spanish chemist Prosur to develop a new way of flavouring traditional British bacon without nitrites. The natural flavour is produced from Mediterranean fruit and spice extracts, following ten years of research and development.

The flavour is currently being used in continental style hams in the European Union, but this will be the first time the technology has been applied to British bacon and available to UK consumers, following a £14 million initial investment from Finnebrogue.

Denis Lynn, Finnebrogue chairman, says, “The problem with bacon is dead simple. Bacon contains nitrites, nitrites produce nitrosamines in your gut and nitrosamines are carcinogenic. Nitrites should not be in food.

“I’ve been all over the world to figure out a way to make bacon without nitrites – and up to now we’d never made a single rasher of bacon because we couldn’t work out how to do it. For more than a decade I have insisted we not touch bacon until such time as we can make it better and safer – and now we have.

“Our Naked Bacon is not only safer than any other bacon on the market, it also tops the charts in blind taste tests. This really is the biggest revolution to the British breakfast for a generation.”

Juan de Dios Hernandez Canovas, chief executive of Prosur, adds, “It has been a privilege to work with Denis Lynn and his team at Finnebrogue. We are both on a mission to make food as safe as it can possibly be – and we have done it together with traditional British bacon.”

The purpose of adding nitrites is to give cured meat its characteristic pink colour, texture, some flavour and also to help as a preservative. The new natural flavouring being used in Naked Bacon has a similar effect, but does not contain the health risks.

As well as Naked Bacon, Finnebrogue will be bringing Naked Ham to market. The first packets of Naked Bacon will be in supermarkets on 10 January 2018, while Naked Ham launches on 15 January 2018.

Finnebrogue is producing nitrite-free bacon for Marks and Spencer who will be packaging the product in its own brand, to go on sale in early January.

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