A new brand of bacon which claims to have health benefits due to the exclusion of nitrates is launching in the UK.
Naked Bacon is free of nitrates due to the fact that they are thought to cause cancer, and the company has received an investment from a Northern Irish food company.
New Bacon Flavouring
The change in the way bacon has flavoured has allowed companies to stop using nitrates in production, although this is the first company that will be using that knowledge to supply to the UK.
Nitrates, preservatives, E numbers, and allergens are all usually prevalent in the bacon products we see on our shelves. For Naked Bacon, however, all of that has been stripped away. Now, all that flavour comes from simply a mixture of Mediterranean fruit and spice extracts.
It has taken ten years of research and development work to get this product to consumers. So far, the same flavouring has been used for continental-style hams, currently only on sale in the EU. It has never before been made available for UK customers using British bacon.
This is not the only type of nitrate-free meat due to come to the UK, however. Later in January, the same company will be producing own-brand nitrate-free bacon for Marks & Spencer. They will also be launching Naked Ham, which is made with the same principles.
Nitrates are normally used to give cured meat a pink colour, the characteristic texture, a little flavour, and also to preserve the meat. The World Health Organization has called nitrate-flavoured bacon as dangerous as smoking or inhaling asbestos – a serious worry.
Big Irish Investment
Finnebrogue is the Northern Irish meat processing firm which has made an investment of £14 million into the products. They worked with Prosur, a Spanish flavourings firm, bringing together both of the necessary ingredients to produce the finished article.
Denis Lynn, chairman of Finnebrogue, claimed that the firm had searched for a way to produce bacon without nitrate for a long time – and that “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,” he added. “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.”
Professor Chris Elliott is best known for running the government investigation into the 2013 horsemeat scandal, a story well known to those working in food industry jobs. He is behind the new bacon and ham flavourings. 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. To have a bacon produced naturally, that doesn’t require such chemicals to be added or formed during processing, is a very welcome development.”
Further support comes from Neil Parish MP. He also serves as the chairman of the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) select committee. He said, “Making bacon without nitrites – and reducing the risk in the famous full English breakfast – is a remarkable feat of food technology and a brilliant British success story. This is further evidence that the British food industry is going from strength-to-strength. UK firms like Finnebrogue are leading the way in producing some of the best food anywhere in the world.”