There's definitely no shortage of scary news stories these days. And to that onslaught of terrifying headlines came this one yesterday: The world is facing a terrifying bacon shortage.
That really wasn't what bacon-lovers (of which, needless to say, there are millions and millions) needed to hear right now.
As it turns out, the hysteria was all hype. There's no shortage per se: The story was cooked up by the Ohio Pork Council and bolstered by the U.S.D.A's report that the stash of frozen pork belly in the U.S. was the lowest it's been in 50 years. Bacon is made from pork belly, and the news freaked out everyone who loves bacon with their morning eggs (or in desserts or cocktails or coffee or pretty much anything). But the New York Times reports today that the flap was wildly exaggerated, and goes so far as to call it "fake news."
Even though the pork-belly inventory is in fact at a low point, and prices have recently gone up 50 cents per pound, the reserves of pork-belly are just extras. There's plenty—plenty—of bacon to go around.
The Times quotes Rich Deaton, president of the Ohio Pork Council, as saying, “Today’s pig farmers are setting historic records by producing more pigs than ever. Yet our reserves are still depleting.” But the Times also says the Council created the bacon shortage website as "merely a marketing opportunity."
Deaton goes on to defend the move, saying it "was not our intent" to create hysteria and that “We can’t control how the news is interpreted.”
Sound a bit, um, disingenuous in this fake-news era?
In fact, Steve Meyer, who heads up "pork analytics' for the EMI Analytics firm, tells the paper that pork belly production will go up this year: "We’re going to slaughter about 3 percent more pigs this year than we did last year — a record number."
So yeah, no shortage anytime soon. Fry up some bacon and carry on.
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