Friday, 3 February 2017


The USA was apparently aghast when in one of those 'Fake News' stories (Or is it an alternative truth), that have suddenly come to haunt us out of the blue (who had even heard of the idea of fake news before this year?), reported that there was a national shortage of bacon in the USA!

Pork Belly Futures - Always Big In The USA and China

Well to be precise (and you learn something new every day), belly pork supplies (from which bacon is cut), were at an all time low. The national pork belly reserves had hit a low of about 8.2 million kg in December 2016, according to the government figures, compared with about 22.7 million kg a year earlier. The reasons given for this were many and varied. All day breakfasts at Wendy's and McDonald's being one of them.

The Ohio Pork Council, a lobby group for pig farmers said that this information was being misused and that there was in fact no real danger of bacon rationing even with the drop, and that in fact pork production was expected to rise by about 3% this year.

Of course this is no belly laugh in some parts of the World. China for example keeps strategic stocks of pork, such is the national importance of pork to the diet. It has as occasion demanded intervened by releasing more of the meat on to the Chinese market to curb prices and help control inflation.

In Sanxia, in northern Taiwan they still hold an annual Lunar New Year Holy Pig contest. The event harks back to a time when early settlers in Taiwan prayed to local deities for protection. People fatten a pig up over the year, and the biggest is picked as a "winner". The weiner, sorry winner, is then slaughtered in a sacrificial ceremony organised by the local Taoist temple. This year's winner weighed in at 844kg (1,861lb) and the owner of the winning pig gets a golden trophy and, it is said, good luck in the year ahead. So a serious prize for a serious subject.

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