Bacon has always sparked passion across grocery, so why should a new century be any different? It was no surprise, therefore, when UK pigmeat producers' grievances with foreign rivals hit centre stage again this week ­ although this time the heat was turned up by a visiting Dane. Anne Birgitte Lundholt, md of Danske Slagterier ­ the former Copenhagen minister known to many as Denmark's Margaret Thatcher ­ threatened to handbag British critics when she warned the Oxford farming summit that the Danes were exasperated by accusations about safety and welfare from our farmers. And while there was conciliation in her speech there was a sterner side. The Danes are fed up with the flak. However, this is unlikely to cut much ice with hard pressed British pigmen, who will say Lundholt was merely trying diversionary tactics to switch attention away from her industry's failure to keep pace in the stall and tether wrangle. Certainly, there's no doubting the plight facing the UK industry and it's easy to understand why producers defend their corners so stoutly. But while the rhetoric may placate the militants, it's bringing dire warnings from the bacon fixture that the negative publicity could rub off across the entire trade, causing shoppers to turn away from all bacon. Lundholt was right when she suggested there's much to unite the Danish and British bacon sectors, who were, after all, the architects of the market's foundations. But, given the strength of feeling, was it naive of her to suggest that the two might concentrate their efforts on reminding consumers of the pleasures of eating bacon? While both nations claim significant advantages in terms of food safety and hygiene, the fight for a better deal for our producers must continue through government channels. The time has surely arrived, however, for the market's big three the MLC, the DBMC and the Dutch Meat Board to consider joining forces to divert part of their massive ad spends into a generic campaign to promote bacon. Tonnages have already shrunk markedly. Much more crossfire and it could be disastrous for all. Clive Beddall, Editor {{OPINION }}