Myth: Bacon and other pork products are inhumane because pregnant pigs are housed in “gestation stalls” (maternity pens).
Fact: The American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the American Veterinary Medical Association both find that housing sows individually in pens can provide well for their welfare. Sows housed in group pens tend to fight for food and dominance, resulting in serious injuries. Regardless of how pregnant pigs are housed, almost none of pigs brought to market for bacon or pork products for food consumption are housed in individual pens.
Myth: Bacon will make you fat.
Fact: Bacon can have a high fat content (by weight), but calories are calories. Bacon is no more fattening than any other food, and a single strip of bacon only has about 50 calories. (Note: The average person should eat about 2,000 calories per day.)
Myth: Bacon causes cancer.
Fact: This is a myth spread most prominently by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which is really an animal rights group in a lab-coated disguise. (Note: Only ten percent of the group’s members are doctors, to start.) Separate the ideological hype from the actual science, and the results are inconsistent—certainly nothing remotely resembling the evidence which implicates smoking as a cause of lung cancer. It may be the most important dietary way you can prevent cancer is to maintain a healthy weight. You can do that and still have your bacon.
Myth: Bacon’s preservatives are harmful.
Fact: Bacon’s preservatives help keep bacon safe from foodborne illnesses such as botulism. The United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulates bacon (and all meat products), including the preservatives used to cure bacon, to ensure that it is safe. In response to concerns that certain preservatives might be harmful, the FSIS required the addition of ascorbic acid to bacon to prevent the formation of harmful chemicals. If you are worried, the FSIS conducted a study that found that cooking bacon in a microwave rather than a pan reduced the formation of potentially harmful chemicals. You can read more from the FSIS Bacon and Food Safety Fact Sheet.
Myth: Bacon is addictive like cigarettes or cocaine.
Fact: We wouldn’t blame people who have a hankering for bacon, but it would be silly to suggest that bacon causes dependency like drugs do. While a few days – or weeks – without bacon might cause someone to incur a bacon craving, no one is robbing convenience stores for a BLT.
Myth: We’re eating too much bacon.
Fact: Hogwash! According to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the amount of pork Americans eat hasn’t changed much over the past 50 years—if anything, it has fallen slightly.