IT'S OKAY

Don’t worry, there’s no American bacon shortage

Pork lovers, relax. There’s plenty of bacon in America, despite rumblings that stocks are low.

The rumor started when the Ohio Pork Council, a farm lobbying group in the American midwest, created a website named baconshortage.com, which it has since taken down, to note that inventories of frozen pork belly (paywall) were at their lowest point in half a century. Word about the alleged shortage spread fast this week over social media, with people across the US dispatching status updates and tweets with the hashtag #BaconShortage and #BaconReserves.

But having fewer frozen bellies in reserve doesn’t mean less bacon is available. Need proof? Look at the data.

People in the US have been eating about the same amount of pork for four decades, while eating less beef. Indeed, consumption of pork is close to surpassing that of beef.

That inflection point is likely not far off, as US government data show hog farmers are for the first time producing more pounds of American meat than cattlemen. That pork production is on the rise while consumption has stayed about the same should debunk any lingering concern about whether people will have enough bacon in their homes.

For added assurance, pork exports have remained about the same for several years. Hog farmers were hoping for some increased business with the passage of the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, however those prospects were smoked when US president Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the deal. Don’t expect any big fluctuations in trade to disrupt supply in the immediate future.

So settle down and sizzle up. The pork supply is steady.

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