Ask a group of people “Who loves bacon?” and chances are many of them will raise their hands. But what most people don’t know is that there are secret ingredients lurking in bacon.
That’s right. If you read most package labels, they say that bacon is cured with water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphates, sodium ascorbate, and sodium nitrate. But here are seven unlisted ingredients that will leave you shocked.
In 2015, based on evidence from hundreds of studies, the World Health Organization placed processed meats like bacon in the same category of carcinogens as asbestos and smoking cigarettes. According to the WHO’s report, eating 50 grams of processed meat each day can increase the risk of colon cancer by 18 percent.
A newer study recently reported on by CNN is consistent with the one from 2015, finding that eating processed meats like bacon could increase the risk of breast cancer by 9 percent.
2. Bacteria and Antibiotics
Antibiotics are used at factory farms to make animals grow faster and keep them alive in conditions that would otherwise kill them. Bacteria can become resistant to these antibiotics, which could make it impossible to treat humans who get infected by these “superbugs.” Scary stuff, we know.
3. Feces and Cannibalism
In 2013, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, an often-fatal illness, killed a tenth of pigs raised for pork in the U.S. In 2015, farmers were reportedly combating the epidemic by feeding pigs manure containing the virus or remains of dead piglets who were infected. Yep, you read that right: Factory farming turned pigs into cannibals.
Countless Mercy For Animals investigations have documented many pigs left to suffer from open wounds, serious injuries, and infections without proper veterinary care. Factory farmers prioritize profit over animal welfare, which causes these animals terrible misery.
5. Extreme Confinement
The pork industry’s use of gestation crates, which keep pigs virtually immobilized, is one of the worst forms of institutionalized animal abuse in existence. In fact, these crates are so cruel they’ve been banned in 10 U.S. states and the entire European Union.
You won’t see torture listed on the back of a package of bacon, but it’s a key ingredient in production. Piglets are separated from their mothers when they’re as young as 10 days old. Workers cut off their tails, grind down their teeth, and rip out their testicles without any painkillers. Those who are too sick or not growing fast enough are killed by being slammed headfirst onto concrete floors. These practices are completely legal and considered acceptable within the industry.
7. An Intelligent Animal
While bacon is a product, it’s important to remember that it came from a once living, breathing animal. Pigs are incredibly intelligent. In fact, they are considered the fifth-most intelligent animal in the world—above dogs—and can even play video games with more focus and success than chimps.
While these hidden ingredients may not be listed on the package, sadly, they are in every single slice of bacon.
Fortunately, you can take a stand for animals and your health by ditching bacon and other animal products. Order a FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide to learn more. And check out these delicious and humane plant-based bacon alternatives!