A meat processor in Northern Ireland has developed what is claimed to be the world’s 1st bacon that is free from nitrites and that ‘cuts the cancer risk of bacon.’
Branded as ‘Naked Bacon’, the new product has been developed by Finnebrogue Artisan from Downpatrick in County Down. The company says it has worked with Spanish chemists who have managed to produce bacon that does not include nitrites from vegetables or curing agents.
Following 5 years of research by Finnebrogue, the new bacon is the first to be completely free from nitrites, preservatives, E numbers and all allergens. Next in the pipeline are ham and pork sausages also free from nitrites.
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 is produced from natural Mediterranean fruit and spice extracts. And crucially, in independent blind taste tests, consumers said it was as good or better than traditionally cured meat.
The flavour is currently being used in continental style hams in the EU, but this will be the first time the technology has been applied to British bacon.
Finnebrogue founder and chairman Denis Lynn said: “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.”
The nitrite-free bacon has been welcomed by Prof Chris Elliott of the Institute of Global Food Security at Queen’s University in Belfast, UK.
He said: “Many forms of processed foods have come under the spotlight over recent years for their unhealthy attributes. Processed red meat, in particular, has been a focal point. 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.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently warns that bacon cured with nitrites is as dangerous as asbestos and smoking, because the chemicals produce carcinogenic nitrosamines when ingested.