Beyond the Barn

Another sign of bacon’s popularity: clogged drains

CBC News reported in April that city workers found that sewage pipes in the Ridgevale Drive subdivision in Bedford, N.S., were clogged with bacon grease after sewage backed up into area houses.

According to CBC, Bedford Councillor Tim Outhit said grease buildup in sewers is common around restaurants, but not in residential areas.

This takes us back to a survey that Maple Leaf Foods commissioned in 2010, connected to the launch of a new reclosable bacon package.

The survey found that three out of four respondents said they loved bacon. One out of four respondents on the Prairies thought that maybe their partners loved bacon “more than me.”

A long ride is less stressful

Shorter truck trips are more stressful to market hogs than longer truck rides, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Animal Science.

The reason? Pigs need time to recover from the stress of loading before they get stressed again when they disembark, says Prof. Michael Ellis, at the University of Illinois’s Urbana-Champaign campus.

Another stress factor is floor space. Overcrowding is stressful, but pigs that have too much space are thrown around as the livestock truck moves. University researchers found that U.S. market pigs on average require five square feet each.

USDA cuts the safe cut cooking temperature for pork

Just in time for the summer barbecue season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dropped the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork to 63 C (145 F) from 71 C (160 F).

The Canadian pork industry wants our federal government to make a similar adjustment. Health Canada provides temperature guidelines for medium-rare beef, veal and lamb (63 C), but maintains that pork is only safe to eat after being cooked to 71 C. Producers argue the high temperature dries out lean pork and turns off consumers.

Trichinosis, a disease caused by a parasite, is the reason for pork’s higher cooking temperature, says Pork Marketing Canada’s website. The sometimes fatal disease was reportable in Canada until 2000, but cases have dwindled.

‘Bacon’ cologne ads all sizzle, no pork

At least when the restaurant trade hopped on the bacon band wagon of late they had the decency to buy some. Not so with a particular cologne maker.

Fargginay Inc., headquartered in Chicago, promotes its “Bacon” brand of unisex cologne extensively on the Internet, using ads that are either humorous, risqué, or both. According to its promotion: “The year was 1920 and quite by accident John Fargginay, a butcher from Paris, discovered the ability to dramatically elevate his customer’s mood with a secret recipe blending 11 popular pure essential oils with the essence of . . . bacon.”

Countering the ‘meatless’ weight loss theory

Obesity is a North American obsession and Oprah Winfrey spinoff Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the popular self-help show of the same name, suggests that people reduce their weight by going meatless at lunch, according to pork industry guru Bob Hunsberger at the recent London Swine Conference. 

“Generally accepted medical opinions are that we eat too much red meat,” Hunsberger says.”

Pork exports contribute to Smithfield’s profit comeback

Smithfield Foods Inc., based in Virginia, cites pork exports to Canada, along with other countries, as contributing to quarterly earnings that far exceeded expectations.

In the quarter ending in January, Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer, exported 24 per cent of its production. According to published reports, chief executive Larry Pope credited double digit increases in sales to Japan, China Korea and Canada. As a result, Smithfield revenue rose 10 per cent to $3.19 billion, above the $3.16 billion average analyst forecast. The hog production unit still lost money, but it was only $2.3 million compared to $78.3 million a year before as higher hog prices made up for expensive feed.

Angry exchange on British pork prices

Retailers and pork producers in Britain have been exchanging angry words over pork pricing.

In early March, Andrew Opie, the director of food for the British Retail Consortium, complained in a letter to TheGrocer online magazine, that retailers “are an easy target” for pig producer protests. “Supermarkets don’t pay producers directly for pork” and making pork more expensive in stores “will just cause customers to buy less, the exact opposite of what farmers want,” he said.

Stewart Houston, chair of the British Pork Executive (BPEX), replied to the same magazine that a BPEX report showed that retailers were making £16 million a week selling pork and pork products, “profitable processors” made £8 million and farmers were losing £3 million.