News of a looming bacon shortage in the US, which provoked panic online, has been rebuffed by the industry.
Concern was sparked by data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) that showed reserves of frozen pork belly were at a 50-year low.
There were 17.8m pounds of frozen pork belly in the inventory as of December 2016, the lowest level since 1957, according to the USDA.
“Today’s pig farmers are setting historic records by producing more pigs than ever,” said Rich Deaton, president of the Ohio Pork Council, a lobby group for pig farmers in a statement. “Yet our reserves are still depleting.”
Alarming headlines from NBC “Now It’s Getting Serious: 2017 Could See a Bacon Shortage” and Fox News “US bacon reserves hit 50 year low” soon followed.
Hashtags including #BaconShortage and #BaconReserves broke out on Twitter, as people grew increasingly concerned about the imminent demise of their greasy breakfast favourite.
The first sign of the apocalypse people. How is no one talking about this. I can’t live in a world with a bacon shortage. #BaconReserves
— Shaun Davis (@ShaunCDavis) 2 February 2017
Worried about #BaconShortage. I must start hoarding. I love BACON ??????
— Lori Schulze (@lschulze87) 1 February 2017
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I heard devastating news today. People, we have a bacon shortage, & prices are going up. WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF BACON. ???? #sendbacon
— Julie Brake (@JulieBrakeRD) 2 February 2017
there’s an apparent bacon shortage so guess i gotta drop out of school and become a pig farmer
— sierra teuscher (@sierrateuscher) 2 February 2017
However, leading economists have since rebuked claims that the US will run out of bacon.
“To imply that there’s going to be some shortage of bacon is wrong,” said Steve Meyer, the vice president of pork analysis for EMI Analytics and a consulting economist to the National Pork Producers Council. “There’s plenty of hogs coming. There’s going to be plenty of bacon.”
“We are aware of reserve levels, however, we are not concerned,” Young said. “We don’t see America’s love of bacon going away anytime soon. The industry will not run out and farmers will respond in time to take advantage,” he said.
US pork production is expected to rise by about three percent this year.
It seems the crispy pork strips are here to stay after all.