Local meat you can eat (without the cancer concern)
IF NEWS that bacon, ham and processed red meats can give you cancer had you looking at raising your own pigs, don't dismay - several Northern Rivers' butchers process and sell nitrate free products.
World Health Organisation experts have declared processed red meats like bacon, sausages and hot dogs can increase the risk of getting colon and bowel cancer.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC analysed 800 studies from around the world and found consumption of processed meat causes cancer.
"Each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%," the IARC said in a statement.
Nitrites and nitrates used in curing processed meats are the cause of the increased cancer risk.
Brad and Tanya Holloway of Brad's Butchery at Lismore and Ballina have been processing their own nitrite free ham and bacon for the past three years.
"The main reason we started doing all the nitrite free products was because my wife Tanya was diagnosed as a coeliac and the we just branched out from there," Mr Holloway said.
"In the shop we felt we needed to create more options not only for ourselves, but for our customers.
"So we started with the basics like gluten free sausages, then branched out to nitrate and nitrite free ham and bacon."
To perfect his recipe used to cure his bacon and ham, Mr Holloway did extensive research and development.
"To supplement the things that normally go into ham and bacon, which are nitrates and nitrites, we put in local honey, brown sugar and salt," he said.
"It's a natural flavour enhancer as well as having natural curing properties; so the salt cures it and from there you need to add flavour which is the honey and brown sugar."
Every week, Mr Holloway processes 20% of the meat from 20 pigs into nitrate and nitrite free bacon and ham which takes nine days to cure.
Customers travel from as far as Tenterfield for Mr Holloway's bacon and ham.
"It's amazing how many people have found us for just those two products alone," he said.
Other butchers across the region to process and sell nitrate and nitrite free bacon and ham include - Alstonville Quality Meats and Hutley Brothers Butchery at South Lismore.