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Car Industry Tech Could Reduce Carcinogens Present in Bacon

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Bacon

Image: Ian Turk

While bacon is a favorite meat choice for carnivores around the world, this food doesn’t have the best health rating due its processing procedure. Smoked foods are more carcinogenic, as research has indicated. “We know from the tobacco industry that smoke contains carcinogens, and we also know that these carcinogens—which are primarily poly-aromatic hydrocarbons—are present in food,” said Jane Parker, chemist from University of Reading in UK.

Although there’s currently no direct link between increased cancer incidents and consuming smoked foods, health experts and scientists agree that it’s important to lower the concentrations of these compounds.


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To this end, Parker has led a team of scientists and food industry researchers with a goal of removing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from smoke used in smoking bacon and other meats. They’ve discovered that zeolite filters often used in car tailpipes are effective at reducing the PAHs from smoked foods while preserving the smoked flavor. According to Signe Dean, contributor with Science Alert, the researchers were able to reduce the content of  the carcinogenic compound benzo(a)pyrene by 93%.

A panel of expert tasters tasted the filtered smoke processed food produced by Parker and her team. The group claimed that the foods had a more balanced flavor rather than the harsh notes that conventionally smoked foods tend to have.

Although Parker’s crew is still tweaking the technology, hopefully healthier smoked foods will soon be available, using zeolite filters designed specifically for smoking food. That way we can all continue to enjoy the tantalizing savoriness of bacon, pulled pork, and whatever other type of meat we put in our backyard smokers.


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News Sources: ScienceAlert, Digital Trends