Nitrate-free bacon: Is this another food fad?

Butchers and supermarkets are increasingly selling nitrate-free bacon, which is often twice the price of bacon that's been cured using sodium nitrate.

Butcher Blair Parsons said customers started asking for nitrate-free bacon about four years ago, prompting him to experiment with alternative preservatives and curing agents.

After some trial and error, Mr Parsons started using a cure of salt, sugar, water and sodium ascorbate which, as a food additive, has the code E301.

Sugar tax would prolong Australians' lives more than two years, Melbourne researchers find

In an article to be published in the PLOS (Public Library of Science) Magazine, modelling by the university's Centre for Public Health Policy concludes that taxing foods that are high in sugar, salt and saturated fats — as well as subsidising fruit and vegetables — would also save $3.4 billion in healthcare costs.

"The study suggests that taxes and subsidies on foods and beverages can potentially be combined to achieve substantial improvements in population health and cost savings to the health sector," the article reads.

Doctors call for sweet drink levy to tackle obesity in Australia

The Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges, representing bodies including the Royal Australian College of GPs, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, has developed a six-point obesity action plan to tackle what it calls the most pressing public health issue.

Professor Nick Talley, head of the Committee of the Presidents of Medical Colleges, said urgent definitive action was needed.

"We need leadership, not just telling people to lose weight," he said.