I know: bacon tastes good. There’s no denying it. But even if you don’t care at all about animal rights, there are some solid reasons to check that bacon obsession.
Bacon has always been a pretty popular food, but right now its popularity is exploding. Trendy bars list bacon with peanut butter dipping sauce as an appetizer. We top cupcakes with bacon. We infuse it into booze. It’s bananas. And this bacon preoccupation is no good for anyone.
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of reports about how hog farming, bacon production, and consuming processed meats is bad for human health. Some of these health impacts come directly from eating processed meats. Others are health problems caused by farming emissions. Let’s look at five really food reasons to rethink your bacon habit.
1. Bacon production pollutes our air.
Jill wrote on Friday about how bacon-producing facilities in Dazhou are producing huge amounts of smog. In this small city in the Sichuan provence, “local city inspectors are reportedly raiding bacon-smoking operations and even shutting them down in efforts to curb the bacon smog.”
Bacon smog is a thing.
So is air pollution from large-scale hog farms here in the U.S.
2. Hog farming is driving North Carolinians indoors.
In the greater Raleigh area hog farming is big business. That’s bad news for residents, who are often constrained to their homes when putrid water polluted with pig waste makes the air practically unbreathable. It’s getting so bad that residents are suing the big pig farms in the area.
3. Pig farms pollute our water.
Factory pig farms in Iowa are no better. In Des Moines, the local water utility is having more and more trouble filtering nitrates out of the residential water supply. Where do these nitrates come from? Pig waste fom upstream industrial hog farms. Not only is our taste for bacon making the water in Des Moines unsafe to drink, it’s costing residents $7,000 per day in extra filtration costs.
4. Bacon is linked to cancer.
Numerous studies have linked bacon and other processed meats to cancer. A 2008 study found that a molecule in meats – including bacon – are present in cancer cells. But bacon and other processed meats are even more strongly linked to cancer, because they contain those same nitrites that are polluting the Des Moines water supply.
5. Small scale production isn’t much better.
We talk a lot about supporting small farms, but when it comes to meat production is farm to table the answer? According to a report from our sister site Ecopreneurist, the farm to table movement isn’t doing much to help small farmers. Derek Markham cites data from the most recent USDA Census of Agriculture, not so much. Published every 5 years, the latest census (released this past May) gives us the state of American farming in 2012. And the picture ain’t pretty for our farmers.
Image Credits: Bacon, cistern, and pig photos via Shutterstock.