British bacon free from potentially carcinogenic preservatives will soon appear on supermarket shelves thanks to advances spearheaded by British researchers.
Experts have applauded the development of Naked Bacon by Northern Irish food manufacturer Finnebrogue as a “very welcome development” and a “British success story”.
“It’s quite an advance in terms of food processing,” Professor Chris Elliott, chair of the Institute for Global Food Security, told Sky News.
Professor Elliott said: “Nitrates have been used for a long, long time in preservation of bacon and the inventor of Naked Bacon has come up with a completely different approach.”
Finnebrogue claims its Naked Bacon product is completely free of nitrites, preservatives, E numbers and all allergens.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation concluded that processed meat, including bacon, was carcinogenic – possibly because nitrites can form carcinogenic compounds in the human body called nitrosamines.
Finnebrogue said that alongside a Spanish chemist it developed a new flavouring from fruit and spice extracts which looks and tastes like traditional bacon and has a similar shelf life.
Image: Nitrate-free Naked Bacon will hit shelves in January
Finnebrogue chairman Denis Lynn said: “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.”
Neil Parish, Conservative MP and chairman of the Commons Environment, Food and Rural AffairsCommittee, 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.
More from UK
“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.”
Naked Bacon will launch in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco from 10 January.