Brace yourself: The bacon shortage is coming

posted at 10:01 pm on April 8, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

Don’t panic. Your prices will probably go up because the free market is awesome and capable of signaling where it needs the most bacon when, and to whom it is most valuable, so there won’t be full bacon stoppage. Or, bacon lines. Though if you were going to queue up for something, certainly that’d be it.

A virus never before seen in the U.S. has killed millions of baby pigs in less than a year, and with little known about how it spreads or how to stop it, it’s threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10 percent or more.

Scientists think porcine epidemic diarrhea, which does not infect humans or other animals, came from China, but they don’t know how it got into the country or spread to 27 states since last May. The federal government is looking into how such viruses might spread, while the pork industry, wary of future outbreaks, has committed $1.7 million to research the disease.

The U.S. is both a top producer and exporter of pork, but production could decline about 7 percent this year compared to last — the biggest drop in more than 30 years, according to a recent report from Rabobank, which focuses on the food, beverage and agribusiness industries.

Between this and the lime shortage, Bloody Marys are hardest hit. You may have to cut your garnish down to just the two slices.

The disease is thought to have come from China, and large pork-producing states are suffering— Iowa and North Carolina chief among them. Perhaps Bruce Braley can say something mind-blowingly insensitive about pig farmers not knowing how to chair an appropriations committee properly or something during this tough time. Companies are working to create a vaccine, but nothing has been approved by the federal government.

As much as this is tough, particularly for those whose livelihoods depend upon it, it’s a wonderful thing to live in a country where a shortage of any food product is a national news story, not an everyday occurrence. As I said when faced with the Velveeta shortage of 2014:

Many will scoff and say the regular, near-perfect delivery of cheese is nothing, but it’s damn near miraculous, and a historical anomaly to be so well-supplied with cheese of all varieties that those who used to worry about a lack of cheese are now compelled to write laws limiting our cheese intake for us. One of capitalism’s greatest weaknesses is the invisible hand works so well its untold maneuvers are easy to take for granted. Until you’re sitting there, for the first time in your life, with a lonely can of Rotel.

Ahem:

In 2008, when there was another serious wave of food scarcity, most people blamed shop owners for hoarding food as a mechanism to exert pressure on the government’s price controls, a measure that former president Hugo Chávez adopted as part of his self-styled socialist revolution.

This time, however, food shortages have gone on for almost a year and certain items long gone from the shelves are hitting a particular nerve with Venezuelans. Toilet paper, rice, coffee, and cornflour, used to make arepas, Venezuela’s national dish, have become emblematic of more than just an economic crisis.

“We used to produce rice and we had excellent coffee; now we produce nothing. With the situation here people abandoned the fields,” says Jesús López, in reference to government-seized land that sits idle. “Empty shelves and no one to explain why a rich country has no food. It’s unacceptable,” adds the 90-year-old farmer from San Cristóbal, on the western state of Táchira, bordering Colombia.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Congress hardest hit?

oscarwilde on April 8, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Another sh!**y Chinese import – thanks!

EA_MAN on April 8, 2014 at 10:04 PM

Naw, plenty of feral hogs around. Just gotta make your own bacon.

climbnjump on April 8, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Its an Al Qaeda attack!

astonerii on April 8, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Pigd……..

Electrongod on April 8, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Pigs…..

Electrongod on April 8, 2014 at 10:06 PM

Next up at HotAir: Ham on bacon!

MartinetMemo: If the free market is allowed to work, there won’t be a “shortage” as it’s defined by economists. Prices will rise until people consume exactly the amount of bacon that producers are willing and able to supply them. A true shortage can only exist when government intevenes to restrict prices, such as “price-gouging” laws that criminalize things like driving to a hurricane-damaged area with a load of generators to sell at a premium and make a provit.

The Monster on April 8, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Naw, plenty of feral hogs around. Just gotta make your own bacon.

climbnjump on April 8, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Nonpartisan will tell us how to do it. And, it won’t harm a pig.

bettycooper on April 8, 2014 at 10:09 PM

It’s okay-because we’ll still have plenty of turkey bacon.
*runs*

annoyinglittletwerp on April 8, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Obviously, bacon tastes very different than pork chops or sliced ham.
Whjat do they do to bacon that gives it that distinctive taste?
Why could they not do that to other meats?

For all of my life, I’ve never heard of “corned” anything except beef.
In my new home country, we now enjoy corned tuna & corned ham.

Bring on the bacon-flavored chicken!

itsnotaboutme on April 8, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Oh nothing to worry about, we’ll import bacon from Iran and Saudi Arabia.
No biggy .

burrata on April 8, 2014 at 10:13 PM

MKH, I think of you every time that I see this picture…

Je t’aime Bacon! The Bacon Eiffel Tower…and More Foodie Fabus

Resist We Much on April 8, 2014 at 10:14 PM

BACON!

annoyinglittletwerp on April 8, 2014 at 10:17 PM

I wonder what Jeb Bush’s position is on this issue.

kcewa on April 8, 2014 at 10:17 PM

Good deal. End the war on pigs. Soy bacon is a tasteful alternative.

arnold ziffel on April 8, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Well this just really sucks…

OmahaConservative on April 8, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Well this just really sucks…

OmahaConservative on April 8, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Yeah, it doesn’t sizzle…

climbnjump on April 8, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Bacon

kcewa on April 8, 2014 at 10:20 PM

It already busts my budget. I’m living without it, for the most part.

22044 on April 8, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Holy balls . . . . . . . . . what’s that commie-babe President of Argentina gonna use as an aphrodisiac for herself and her boyfriend(s)?
.
Maybe the “swine flu diarrhea” hasn’t progressed that far south, yet.

listens2glenn on April 8, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Brace yourself: The bacon shortage is coming

Then we are saved…no more Islamic terrorists…

Electrongod on April 8, 2014 at 10:22 PM

There’s nothing like eggs cooked in bacon grease over the camp fire in the morning.

Some toast. Cowboy coffee.

The thick bacon. Bowl of grits with butter,.

A campground at sunrise.

wolly4321 on April 8, 2014 at 10:25 PM

This is what happens when you elect a muslim President.

Flange on April 8, 2014 at 10:25 PM

Next up at HotAir: Ham on bacon!

MartinetMemo: If the free market is allowed to work, there won’t be a “shortage” as it’s defined by economists. Prices will rise until people consume exactly the amount of bacon that producers are willing and able to supply them. A true shortage can only exist when government intevenes to restrict prices, such as “price-gouging” laws that criminalize things like driving to a hurricane-damaged area with a load of generators to sell at a premium and make a provit.

The Monster on April 8, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Unless a virus decimates your herd.

Hey! We’re talkin’ bacon here!

davidk on April 8, 2014 at 10:29 PM

This is what happens when you elect a muslim President.

Flange on April 8, 2014 at 10:25 PM

.
Not necessarily the President, but militant Islamists, who we all know despise hogs, might have conducted some bio-warfare against pork farmers.

listens2glenn on April 8, 2014 at 10:32 PM

Why did my first comment go into “mod que”?

listens2glenn on April 8, 2014 at 10:33 PM

At night kabobs with everything. Tomatoes, steak, pork , chicken, onion, green peppers, shrimp, scallops,

Wrapped in bacon.

wolly4321 on April 8, 2014 at 10:37 PM

Thank God I’m Jewish.

aunursa on April 8, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Well damn, this is really going to hit at just the wrong time, not that there is any good time for this.

onesheep on April 8, 2014 at 10:40 PM

I’m hoarding bacon now.

Then when supplies run low, and scarcity and panic causes mass mayhem, I will sell it to you people raw and uncooked for a kings ransom.

Muuuaaahhh

SparkPlug on April 8, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Trading Places (4/10) Movie CLIP – Pork Bellies Going Down (1983) HD

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI4fVgVVpiw

canopfor on April 8, 2014 at 10:41 PM

Completely OT, but hoglarious anyway:

Hitler finds out he can’t keep his doctor under Obamacare

climbnjump on April 8, 2014 at 10:41 PM

Trading Places – Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emvySA1-3t8

canopfor on April 8, 2014 at 10:42 PM

Bacon shortage,…..not in CanuckLand,…haha…
oh,…I feel your pain(s)!!

(Kidding)

canopfor on April 8, 2014 at 10:43 PM

No! No! No! A thousand times no!–Lady Marguerite Blakeney, The Scarlet Pimpernel

Newtie and the Beauty on April 8, 2014 at 10:44 PM

A pound of it in some bushes baked beans with campfire cornbread is full of awesome.

Add a little JD.

wolly4321 on April 8, 2014 at 10:48 PM

It’s okay-because we’ll still have plenty of turkey bacon.
*runs*

annoyinglittletwerp on April 8, 2014 at 10:12 PM

I’d rather stick pins in my eyes.

Wendya on April 8, 2014 at 10:54 PM

Feeding piglets the blood from slaughter houses should be fairly easy to isolate as a cause. Look at the infection rate in farms that do not use such products and compare. If it is related, the practice may have to be discontinued. Feeding cattle slaughter house waste was suspected of spreading the prions behind Mad Cow disease.

KW64 on April 8, 2014 at 10:58 PM

Peak Pork.

Logus on April 8, 2014 at 11:01 PM

The bacon shortage is coming

…no!…not bacon!

KOOLAID2 on April 8, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Feeding piglets the blood from slaughter houses should be fairly easy to isolate as a cause. Look at the infection rate in farms that do not use such products and compare. If it is related, the practice may have to be discontinued. Feeding cattle slaughter house waste was suspected of spreading the prions behind Mad Cow disease.

KW64 on April 8, 2014 at 10:58 PM

Is not a practice. It is illegal to feed raw waste to swine. That’s how hog cholera was spread back before it was eradicated. No successful commercial producer would even dream of doing it. Baby pigs are very susceptible to enteritides. Rota and corona viruses, and E.coli variants are a constant threat. I might add that trying to vaccinate newborns against enteric disease is very difficult. In many cases, it is done with passive antibody produced by the sow’s milk after she is vaccinated. It bathes the intestinal tract with antibodies just like colostrum does.

butch on April 8, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Forced to choose between no bacon and genetically modified pigs… I think the lo-info population would turn against the libs and proggies.

SIDE BENEFIT: BACON-FLAVORED SOYLENT GREEN MADE FROM PROGGIES!

Marcola on April 8, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Now we know why DHS has been stockpiling hollow points!

Sven on April 9, 2014 at 12:02 AM

This is very bad news..:(

Dire Straits on April 9, 2014 at 12:18 AM

I’m hoarding bacon now.

Then when supplies run low, and scarcity and panic causes mass mayhem, I will sell it to you people raw and uncooked for a kings ransom.

Muuuaaahhh

SparkPlug on April 8, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Um. Raw means uncooked.

Anyway, bacon is cured, which means it isn’t really raw.
Even when it is uncooked.

AesopFan on April 9, 2014 at 12:28 AM

The Leftists and their useful idiot Liberals, aided by the propagandist Media are responsible for this.
This is not due to some Chinese virus.
Big Mooch has undoubtedly been hoarding hogs for own consumption, aided and abetted by her Indonesian husband of questionable sexuality and IQ.

They have now gone way too far.
This means war.

justltl on April 9, 2014 at 12:39 AM

aunursa on April 8, 2014 at 10:40 PM

So were my parents. They still loved bacon. LoL

annoyinglittletwerp on April 9, 2014 at 12:41 AM

This is serious folks. I remember the pseudo rabies hog virus epidemic in the 1980′s. When that hit it blasted through the farm economy in a year or so. Thousands of farmers failed because they had no income. Three decades later there are still farm sites with buildings sitting empty because they can’t be used and nobody wants to spend the money to tear them down.

Nobody seems to know how the virus got into the country? Here’s one idea. Farm trade missions. They happen all the time, year in and year out. Whether a American farmer went to a hog farm in China or a Chinese farmer visited a farm in the US, it does not matter. All that matters is somebody didn’t take the proper precautions and moved that virus across the Pacific…….

MnCoyote on April 9, 2014 at 12:55 AM

It’s okay-because we’ll still have plenty of turkey bacon.
*runs*

annoyinglittletwerp on April 8, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Your Texan card is on probation for that one, ALT!

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on April 9, 2014 at 1:57 AM

Toilet paper, rice, coffee, and cornflour, used to make arepas, Venezuela’s national dish, have become emblematic of more than just an economic crisis.

No wonder that country is screwed up. When your national dish has toilet paper in it…

trigon on April 9, 2014 at 2:38 AM

No wonder that country is screwed up. When your national dish has toilet paper in it…

trigon on April 9, 2014 at 2:38 AM

Don’t squeeze eat the Charmin.

Flange on April 9, 2014 at 2:49 AM

Whjat do they do to bacon that gives it that distinctive taste?

Bacon is actually pretty easy to make. You need to bet a fresh pork belly (with the rind on). Rub it all over with coarse kosher salt and maple syrup. Keep it refrigerated in a covered plastic tray, turning it every day or so. The salt draws excess water out of the pork belly. (You’ll see it collecting in the bottom of the tray. Pour it off.) After about a week, you’ll notice that the pork belly has gotten firmer than it was. Take it out of the tray and rinse it off. Let it air dry until the surface is shiny buy kind of sticky-dry. This surface state is called a ‘pellicle’. Your proto-bacon is ready to smoke over hickory at a fairly low temp, say about 170 or so. maybe a little higher, but you don’t want the fat to run. I think 6 to 8 hours is good. After it cools from the smoker, you can trim the rind off, or not, some people like it on. Slice to your desired thickness.

There are lots of sites online with more detailed information.

trigon on April 9, 2014 at 2:50 AM

The Bacon must flow.

dddave on April 9, 2014 at 6:05 AM

This is bad news. I just saw an ad for The Perfect Bacon Bowl which is a device that allows me to form a bacon bowl of my own, using any slices that I want, cook it, and then eat ice cream out of it… if I wanted to.
.
Bird flu and pork flu, from China… get rid of China.

ExpressoBold on April 9, 2014 at 6:49 AM

At night kabobs with everything. Tomatoes, steak, pork , chicken, onion, green peppers, shrimp, scallops,

Wrapped in bacon.

wolly4321 on April 8, 2014 at 10:37 PM

I prefer my bacon wrapped in bacon.

RandallinHerndon on April 9, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Nonpartisan will tell us how to do it. And, it won’t harm a pig.

bettycooper on April 8, 2014 at 10:09 PM

maybe it will use that skeet gun which cannot hurt anything.

dmacleo on April 9, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Good deal. End the war on pigs. Soy bacon is a tasteful alternative.

arnold ziffel on April 8, 2014 at 10:18 PM

that.
is.
just.
plain.
wrong….

on so many levels…

dmacleo on April 9, 2014 at 8:50 AM

has killed millions of baby pigs in less than a year

but production could decline about 7 percent this year compared to last

Dang. That’s a LOT of pork we eat.

On the plus side, maybe this will increase the availability of lamb.

GWB on April 9, 2014 at 9:22 AM

I can tolerate a bacon shortage, as long as we’ve got Ham!

(couldn’t resist, sorry)

ReggieA on April 9, 2014 at 9:28 AM

No wonder that country is screwed up. When your national dish has toilet paper in it…

trigon on April 9, 2014 at 2:38 AM

Ha! Antecedents are important!

trigon on April 9, 2014 at 2:50 AM

Good info.

GWB on April 9, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Bird flu and pork flu, from China… get rid of China.
ExpressoBold on April 9, 2014 at 6:49 AM

The missiles launch in 10-minutes.

Another Drew on April 9, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Geeze, at $8-9 a pound, I thought it was already HERE !!
Been hoarding when on sale .. can’t imagine it going any higher .. will see.

pambi on April 9, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Everyone could convert to Judaism, keep kosher, and not worry about it. Just in time for Passover.

It’s a simple operation. :)

hadsil on April 9, 2014 at 10:03 AM

The bacon shortage is coming.

by Mary Katherine HAM

“Seriously. Did you not see that?!!!” –Sterling Archer

thejackal on April 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Phrasing!

thejackal on April 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM

How could a pig virus get here from China? Since when does the US import live pigs from China? Have they been smuggled here all the way across the Pacific Ocean on ships?

How stupid does our government think we are?

More likely it came from Mexico, but our government will lie through its teeth about that, just as it is lying about the new epidemics of measles and tuberculosis brought here from Mexico. We’re supposed to believe that only hardworking, clean, disease-free, saintly people come here from Mexico.

rockmom on April 9, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Forced to choose between no bacon and genetically modified pigs… I think the lo-info population would turn against the libs and proggies.

SIDE BENEFIT: BACON-FLAVORED SOYLENT GREEN MADE FROM PROGGIES!

Marcola on April 8, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Ya Baby!

BruceB on April 9, 2014 at 11:12 AM

I wonder if the Chicom’s brought the virus in to damage our pork exporting business and supersede us.

Iblis on April 9, 2014 at 2:59 PM

I wonder if the Chicom’s brought the virus in to damage our pork exporting business and supersede us.

Iblis on April 9, 2014 at 2:59 PM

They bought America’s largest pork producer in the past few years.

Murphy9 on April 9, 2014 at 3:55 PM