Pork problem: Bringing home the bacon getting more difficult

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Bringing home the bacon may be a lot harder and pricier in coming weeks.  A shortage of pork, due to sick and dying piglets, is drastically decreasing the supply.

According to experts, pork production is down more than five percent, but prices could go up as much as 15 percent.

"Bacon shortage makes me very sad, yes," said Kim Findley.

Pork, especially bacon, is a popular menu item at Fahrenheit Restaurant in Tremont.

"It's one of the four food groups. They got it sitting right here at the bar and it's FOC, free of charge, and you just eat all you want and then they bring you another basket, so, there's no shortage in this bar, that's for sure," said Bill Renshaw.

But there is a shortage, including here in Ohio.  According to Fahrenheit corporate chef Anthony Hamilton, a disease is spreading among piglets at pig farms nationwide, creating a shortage of pork.

"As of May, they've recorded it to be active in 27 different states and off the cuff numbers from the pork board. They say they're losing 100-thousand suckling pigs a week," Hamilton said.

He said the pork crisis is just now affecting Ohio. Hamilton said Fahrenheit has not passed on the increase in prices to customers yet, but he said prices in restaurants and at the grocery store could go up 10 to 15 percent.

"If they do, I still enjoy my bacon. I still enjoy my sausage and pork chops," said patron, Dave Kosar.

"I would expect that to trickle down and see the prices and increase. I suppose I might alter my choices and not eat as much pork," said Jenny Ogorzolka.

"I was doing a catering function where I needed about 50 suckling pigs to roast off and when I called my purveyor, he said I can do that, just give me about three months and the event was last week, so obviously I didn't have three months to go," Hamilton said.

He said passing the extra cost on to customers is a last resort, but some restaurants that can't absorb it could stop serving pork. "Some of the staple pork items that have been on the menu for a few years, ultimately, we'll have to lower the portions, raise the price or substitute beef or chicken."

So far, Iowa, the largest pork producing state has been hit the hardest.

Experts said the virus that is killing the piglets cannot be transferred to humans.