Butcher takes on Finnebrogue Naked Bacon claims

A Northern Irish butcher has refuted processor Finnebrogue’s claim that it has created the first-ever nitrite-free bacon product.

Pat O’Doherty of O’Doherty’s Fine Meats in Fermanagh, has responded to the processor’s claims that it has created the first-ever bacon product that contains no nitrites.

The butcher launched his own nitrite-free bacon in 2000 following a five-year development process, and, as well as being sold in his own shop, the bacon is available in retail outlets throughout the UK.

Speaking to Meat Trades Journal, O’Doherty said: “I’m not against anyone selling a product, but Finnebrogue has ignored the fact that nitrite-free bacon has been sold in the UK for some time. I don’t like that big companies are trying to sweep smaller ones under the rug.”

The butcher detailed a list of accolades the product has won since its launch, including Innovation of the Year in the Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards in 2010 for his in-depth study of nitrite-free bacon.

The processor launched what it claimed was the first-ever nitrite-free bacon this week, with chairman Denis Lynn saying: “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.”

Finnebrogue claimed it took 10 years to perfect the process, which it developed alongside Spanish company Prosur. Its natural flavour in Naked Bacon is produced from natural Mediterranean fruit and spice extracts.

Finnebrogue’s Naked Bacon range is available in Marks & Spencer.

In response to O’Doherty’s comments, a spokesman for Finnebrogue told Meat Trades Journal: “It is true that many small butchers have developed ‘natural' or 'nitrite-free' bacons in the past. Some have used ‘natural' nitrites from sources such as celery juice, so are not free of nitrites at all. Others have simply removed nitrites from the process, resulting in a product which doesn’t taste or look the same as bacon. It goes grey after cooking and is simply thinly sliced salted pork. It also has a shorter shelf life.

“The revolutionary processing technology and natural flavouring we are using to produce our Naked Bacon means bacon lovers can now enjoy a rasher without nitrites that tastes as good and looks the same as the best British bacon – and for the first time will be available in the major UK supermarkets.”

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