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Deadly pig virus results in increase in pork prices and lighter bacon packages

FLICKR- Sandra C

FLICKR- Sandra C

Digital writers

Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 9:36 AM - Fewer slices of bacon per package. Canadians may notice changes in their favourite breakfast foods following a recent spike in pork prices.

The rising costs are a result of a deadly virus, known as the porcine epidemic diarrhea. It causes severe diarrhea in newborn piglets, which then die from dehydration.

The outbreak has killed millions of pigs in the U.S. over the past year, impacting and essentially driving up pork and bacon prices.

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Officials say pork markets have been impacted in an "unprecedented way" and the cost increases are an "industry-wide issue." 

The virus has also spread to Canada, putting agricultural officials in several provinces on high alert.

According to Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, the widespread effect is unlike anything he has seen before. 

"What we don't know, and becomes highly unpredictable, is what the demand response will be from that new higher pricing," he said in a report from The Canadian Press.

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Instead of charging customers more, some food companies have quietly reduced the weight of bacon packs while keeping prices unchanged, according to the CBC.

Officials say some packages of bacon have downsized from 500 grams to 375 grams and the number of hotdogs per package are expected to decrease as well.

While the price for pork is expected to eventually go back down, some experts think the smaller bacon portions will be the norm.

What are your thoughts on the rising pork prices, especially with the summer months and barbecue season on the way? Let us know in the comments section below.

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