Relax, bacon lovers, pork shortage won’t affect U.S.

For a moment there, hogs everywhere might have been snorting a sigh of relief.

Earlier this week there was the prediction that a global pork shortage would drive up the prices of bacon, chops and other pork byproducts at your local grocery store. (Did you see Mike Luckovich’s cartoon?)

The three little pigs no doubt saw this as a sign that pork lovers would huff, puff and blow houses down elsewhere to satisfy their craving for the meat.

Britain’s National Pig Association issued the earlier warning, predicting a “world shortage” of pork due to drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, said the fears across the pond are overblown, and U.S. pork producers say there will be plenty bacon available for frying.

“There may be some shortages of pork in Europe, but there will be no shortages in the U.S.” economist Erin Borror of the U.S. Meat Export Federation told Iowa’s Des Moines Register. And Borror (probably pronounced boar) would know.

Future pricing, however, remains uncertain. The summer drought and rising corn prices have had an impact on prices. Averaging $4.61 per pound, bacon prices were up 25 cents in August from July, according to the Department of Agriculture. The price also partly reflects demand.

Americans love their pork. According to the National Pork Producers Council, nearly 21 billion pounds of pork were processed from about 110 million hogs last year. The U.S. exported 2.3 million metric tons of pork valued at more than $6.1 billion. The nation’s largest hog producer is Iowa, where one third of the nation’s hogs originate. North Carolina is a distant No. 2.

Bottom line, the sizzling will continue.

“[We’re] not going to see people in line for bacon,” Cindy Cunningham of the National Pork Board told NBC News. “There will be no bacon rationing.”

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