Nitrite free bacon launches in major British breakthrough for food safety

Cancer risk from eating bacon slashed in biggest revolution to the British breakfast for a generation

UK’s top food scientist hails major step forward for food safety as technological breakthrough eliminates dangerous nitrites 

Naked Bacon – in supermarkets from January 10th – tops blind taste tests and will be first of its kind to be completely free from nitrites – which the WHO says cause cancer

The cancer risk in the beloved British fry-up will be slashed next month with a huge technological breakthrough that eliminates dangerous nitrites from bacon.

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

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said bacon cured with nitrites is as dangerous as asbestos and smoking, as nitrites produce carcinogenic nitrosamines when ingested.

They have estimated that 34,000 bowel and colon cancer deaths per year worldwide are directly attributable to diets high in processed meats – and warned that eating two rashers of nitrite cured bacon per day increases the risk of contracting bowel cancer by 18 per cent.

But with British-made Naked Bacon hitting supermarket shelves in January, all that is set to change in the biggest revolution to the British breakfast for a generation. 

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, commented:

“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.  

“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 artisan food manufacturer, Finnebrogue. It will be the UK’s only bacon to be completely free from nitrites, preservatives, E numbers and all allergens.

Neil Parish MP, the chairman of the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee, says it is great news for the British food industry. He commented:

“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.”

Finnebrogue, currently a leading sausage and venison supplier to top UK supermarkets, has worked with a Spanish chemist to develop a new way of flavouring traditional British bacon without nitrites – something that has never been done before.

The natural flavour is produced from natural 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, commented:

“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 the Spanish company Prosur which developed the new technology, commented:

“We are delighted to have an exclusive partnership with Finnebrogue to bring bacon made without nitrites onto the UK market for the first time.  

“Our processing technology and natural flavouring mean nitrites are no longer required in processed meats.

“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.

In more great news for Britain’s bacon lovers, Finnebrogue’s Naked Bacon beats its leading competitors in independent blind taste tests.

Every year Brits eat 159 million kg of bacon – worth almost £1 billion in retail sales.

As well as Naked Bacon, Finnebrogue will be bringing Naked Ham to market.

The first packets of Naked Bacon will be in supermarkets on January 10th 2018, while Naked Ham launches on January 15th 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.

Kirsty Adams, Marks and Spencer product developer, said:

“We know that our customers care about their health and are increasingly looking for healthier options for themselves and their families. We have worked closely with Finnebrogue throughout their innovation on Nitrite Free bacon, to ensure our own brand recipe is a fantastic tasting bacon without compromise on flavour – as our customers would expect.

“We are very excited to be the first to launch an own brand with a back and streaky bacon, and will be looking to follow this up with cooked hams in the very near future.”


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