World’s first bacon without nitrites developed

A British meat processor says it has removed the nitrates from bacon using natural flavouring from fruit and spice extracts.  |  File photo

A Belfast professor welcomes the ability to produce bacon naturally in a process that doesn’t include chemicals

A meat processor in Northern Ireland has developed what he calls the world’s first bacon free of nitrites.

Branded as Naked Bacon, the product has been developed by Finnebrogue Artisan from Downpatrick.

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, making the traditional morning breakfast ingredient a bit healthier.

Following five years of research by Finnebrogue, the new bacon is the first to be completely free from nitrites, preservatives and allergens.

Finnebrogue next plans to launch nitrate-free ham and pork sausages.

Nitrites are usually added to give cured meat its characteristic pink colour, texture, some flavour and to help preserve the meat.

The new natural flavouring is produced from natural Mediterranean fruit and spice extracts. In independent blind taste tests, consumers rated it was as good or better than traditionally cured meat.

The flavour is currently being used in the European Union, but this will be the first time the technology has been applied to British bacon.

The nitrite-free bacon has been welcomed by professor Chris Elliott of the Institute of Global Food Security at Queen’s University in Belfast.

“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,” he said.

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