Life Health & Wellbeing

Saturday 20 July 2019

Healthier 'full Irish' now on the menu as nitrite-free bacon cuts risk of cancer

The fry-up. Stock photo: Joerg Beuge
The fry-up. Stock photo: Joerg Beuge

Sarah Knapton

The 'full Irish' breakfast is to become healthier following a scientific breakthrough that has cut the cancer risk of bacon.

For the first time, food scientists have managed to produce bacon that does not include nitrites from vegetables or curing agents.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently warns that bacon cured with nitrites is as dangerous as asbestos and smoking, because the chemicals produce carcinogenic nitrosamines when ingested.

They have estimated that around 34,000 bowel and colon cancer deaths each year are directly attributable to diets which are high in processed meat.

The WHO has also calculated that eating two rashers of nitrite-cured bacon per day increases the risk of contracting bowel cancer by 18pc.


But now Northern Irish meat manufacturers Finnebrogue has worked with Spanish chemists to produce the first nitrate-free bacon, called Naked Bacon, which will be available in supermarkets from January.

The bacon is the first to be completely free from nitrites, preservatives, E numbers and all allergens.

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 is produced from natural Mediterranean fruit and spice extracts, following 10 years of research and development.

And crucially, in independent blind taste tests, consumers said it was as good or better than traditionally cured meat.

Irish Independent

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