Not surprisingly, when people think of organic foods they think of produce and sometimes dairy, but rarely do they think of meats and poultry. If you have never considered, or even heard of, organic bacon, you may be wondering exactly what this means and what the benefits are as well. While it will depend from brand to brand, there are some commonalities and some differences to be aware of. Once you understand these differences, you’ll immediately understand exactly what organic bacon is and how it benefits your health.
Starting with a Very Simple Answer
Actually, organic meat of any kind refers to the diet of the animal! While that sounds simple enough, it may be more involved than you think and for that reason, organic meats typically cost a bit more. The rough definition of organic bacon simply means that they are given organic feed and are not fed antibiotics. Unfortunately, if the animal is grass fed, you will also need to be assured that the grass they are eating has not been treated with pesticides or chemical fertilizers. That would nullify the definition of organic, wouldn’t it?
Cured, Uncured or Smoked Bacon
Then there’s the process of processing the bacon to consider. Cured bacon usually means that chemical preservatives are used in the process of curing. These would include nitrates and less often nitrites. So then, uncured bacon means that no chemicals are used in the production process. Then there is the difference between smoked and unsmoked bacon.
Believe it or not, you can have bacon which is uncured and organic while being smoked with hickory, applewood, and other hard woods used in smoking meats. Even though some health advocates shy away from smoking meats because they believe the smoke to be carcinogenic, this won’t mean it isn’t organic. New research has found that smoked meats which are smoked at lower temperatures and for shorter periods of time lesson the potential for being carcinogenic.
One Final Chemical to Avoid
This is a growing concern in the United States as well as in many, many countries around the world. That final ‘chemical’ would be what we refer to as “Genetically Modified Organisms,” or just GMO for short. Scientists are experimenting with GMOs that will make plants:
- Pest resistant
- Drought resistant
- Grow much, much bigger
And, these are just some of the ways in which GMOs modify the genetics of the plant.
Organic Bacon in a Nutshell
But, how does that affect the organic bacon we are talking about? You remember that organic relates to what the pig eats as well as to how it is processed. While the pig may not be genetically modified, the grass and grains it eats very well might be. If you are going to label a meat as “organic,” there is a growing concern that labelers are not being careful to research the lands where they graze.
So, you see, it is both a simple answer and a much more complex answer, but in the end it’s all the same isn’t it? You want bacon that isn’t exposed to chemicals known to be dangerous to your health. That, in itself, is what differentiates healthy organic bacon from chemically produced bacon – the absence of chemicals.