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Just What America’s Obesity Problem Needs : A Bacon Vending Machine




Approximately 2.1 billion people in the world today are obese. That is about 30% of the global population. This number has only been growing each year and continues to rise. Then we hear about news like this and it explains everything…

There is a Bacon vending machine in Columbus at Ohio State University, at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. For only $1 you get 12 strips of cooked bacon, the equivalent of about how many you get when you buy a half a pound at the grocery store. It has been extremely popular among the students and faculty, so much so they have had to refill the machine 4 times per day. It’s no wonder why the world is facing an obesity epidemic.

Fans of bacon lining up to order from the bacon vending machine

As wonderful as this may seem (to some) it is not. According to the World Health Organization, bacon is not only high in fat but also laced with nitrite which places bacon, sausage, and hotdogs in a category of known carcinogens – a list that also includes cigarettes, diesel fumes and asbestos.

“But I can’t help thinking that selling 12 slices of bacon for a buck in an environmental building of a major university is kind of like handing out cigarettes in front of the medical school.” –Lloyd Alter

The machine was installed by the Ohio Pork Council as a fund-raiser. The products are donated by Smithfield, Hormel and Sugardale. All the proceeds from the bacon vending machine go to the Ohio State Meat Sciences program. “The Bacon Vending Machine is a unique and fun way for the Ohio Pork Council to support Ohio State students and promote the pork industry at the same time,” said Ohio Pork Council’s President-Elect Dave Shoup, according to Fox 28 Columbus.


Not everyone thought it was fun. Ohio is famous for their pork so pigs are a big deal there. The news of this machine spread quickly across the state in every paper and website. This promotional stunt seriously disturbed as many people as it amused. Someone posted a comment to the Ohio Hog Farmers’ Facebook page saying:

“A bacon vending machine in an Environmental Science building is a contradiction. And that makes me wonder why would OSU support an industry that is causing catastrophic environmental damage. But then I discovered it was for money. OSU receives large amounts of money from the meat and dairy industry. In addition to the environmental contradiction, this is also a huge medical contradiction. OSU is notorious for their multi-million dollar hospitals, medical facilities and institutions. And there’s simply no way they have not received the information that bacon causes cancer and heart disease. Putting profit ahead of the environment and people’s health is not okay, I am a disappointed Buckeye today.”

An article by TreeHugger says that “in many ways, bacon should be a controlled substance.” They go on to explain how some believe that meat should be taxed to save lives and slow global warming. There was even a study conducted called, “Health motivated taxes on red and processed meat.” In it, researchers outlined “optimal tax levels that would nudge consumers toward healthier food choices, similar to what’s been done with tobacco, alcohol, and, most recently, sugary beverages.”

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