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Controversy over bacon sizzles at Coca-Cola Park

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: May 23 2014 05:11:55 PM CDT
Updated On: May 23 2014 06:10:22 PM CDT

Bacon is up to bat; the pork product is the topic of a billboard campaign launched in Allentown.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Bacon is up to bat; the pork product is the topic of a billboard campaign launched in Allentown.

A non-profit says bacon is a foul ball at Coca Cola Park, but IronPigs officials tell 69 News they're not going down swinging.

The meat has a leading role at Coca-Cola Park with bacon hats, bacon plushies and pins, even bacon scented t-shirts available.

"I think we are glorifying bacon," laughed IronPigs president and general manager Kurt Landes. "In a fun way, in a very unique goofy way."

Fans enjoy coming to pig out, but a Washington D.C. based non-profit warns bacon may strike them out.

A billboard just went up along Tilghman Street in Allentown showing slices of bacon inside a pack of cigarettes. The large sign reads, "Keep kids safe, ban bacon from ballparks."

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says the baseball team's promotion of bacon is excessive.

"This over the top messaging, positive messaging about a really unhealthy food is just not consistent with American values," explained Dr. Anne Bunner, associate director of clinical research for the group.

While PCRM might not be serious about benching bacon, it is serious about raising awareness about the dangers of eating processed meats.

"The reality is that one in three kids of this generation will have diabetes, one in three kids is overweight, one in five kids is obese and one in five teens has high cholesterol," Bunner shared.

Stadium workers tell 69 News they're not forcing fans to eat anything, and there is a wide variety of food choices.

"We are the IronPigs and the IronPigs are about fun and unique and bold, creative ideas, and having bacon on our pants and on our uniforms and our caps is what minor league baseball is all about," Landes added.

The IronPigs started a social media campaign in response to the billboard using #saveourbacon.

Ballpark officials say the food fight may make folks think twice about what they're eating in the long run, but right now the billboard might have backfired pushing fans to call for even more bacon.