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Bacon bites back: No shortage, it's a weather and corn problem

Burger King's newly crowned
Burger King's newly crowned "Bacon Sundae."
Photo by @wikijeff via Twitter

Slate has plated up the pandemonium of this week's bacon hysteria, breaking down the Internet's breakdown over what the National Pig Association of Britain called an "unavoidable bacon shortage." The weather forecast, not the bacon forecast, is more to the point, they say. Climate and corn are the issues.

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University published a brief in July about the serverity of the drought, corn prices, and the effect on biofuel production.

Drought has sharply decreased the size of the US corn and soybean crops this year. While there is no way of knowing for sure how low yields will go, the continuation of hot and dry weather in the major corn and soybean producing areas indicates that yield losses could be of historic proportions. 

U.S. News and World Report reports that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is not concerned about the bacon supply, and says the fears are baseless.

"The deal about a shortage of bacon is a bunch of baloney," he says. "There's going to be bacon available and there's going to be enough corn to meet both our livestock and ethanol needs."

The UK's bacon-doomsday report took a few days to cook online. The news release, dated Sept. 20, didn't spread like digital grease fire until Tueday. By Thursday, in the cool down, people seem to agree that the price of bacon will probably rise, but that the increase is a climate caused, drought related trickle of the price of corn increasing, not an indicator of a shortage.

Also, Slate also wants to remind people that bacon means different things to different people:

The thing British people call "bacon" isn 't the same as what Americans call "bacon." Their bacon is from the back cut of the pig and corresponds to what we call "Canadian bacon." Our beloved bacon, made from pork belly, is known in the United Kingdom as "streaky bacon." In Canada, interestingly, "bacon" means the exact same thing as in the United States, and they use the term "back bacon” to refer to what we call "Canadian bacon" and English people just call "bacon." Which is simply a long-winded way of saying that the pork supply issue has nothing in particular to do with bacon.