UK bacon producers are challenging new proposals contained in new European Union (EU) guidance that would ban the term 'natural' on traditionally smoked flavour.
Drafted by the European Commission (EC), the legislation implies that smoking is a form of processing meaning there can be no such thing as a 'naturally smoked product'. However, this decision from Brussels has been met with strong opposition from the Provision Trade Federation (PTF) which represent bacon producers, FoodManufacture.co.uk reports.
While the EC claims that consumers would be mislead by the 'natural' labellings the PTF is now seeking clarification on an apparent discrepancy between the EC and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) when it comes to this area. The FSA's view is that traditional products, such as bacon, can be described as natural if they are smoked without chemicals.
The organisation also allows dehydration methods as well as baking, roasting and blanching to be put under this bracket. In the UK, the majority of smoked bacon is made by using wood to give it a smoky flavour. This is much different from the use of chemicals which can be detrimental in the way the bacon tastes.
Members of the PTF will be seeking clarification on the EC's position when it meets with delegates at a technical meeting in September.
Speaking to the news provider, Clare Cheney, PTF director general, said: "The meaning of the term natural has been an issue for as long as I can remember. In this case it seems as though the author of the EU guidelines is applying the description to the final product rather than the process."
Bacon is one of the nation's favourite meats and plays an integral part in a traditional fry up breakfast. Recent research from market analysts Kantar Worldpanel showed that the cooked breakfast has enjoyed a renaissance in the past year with over 140 million being served in 2014, a ten per cent rise from 2013.