Cancer risks involved with eating processed meats

  • 3 weeks ago
  • Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8085187/bacon-ham-cancer-cause-risk-chemicals-health/
  • 54

In a joint statement, it is demanded that the Government should take action to raise awareness in a similar way to campaigns on the health dangers from sugar and fatty foods.

They cited "A growing consensus of scientific opinion" that nitrites in processed meats result in the production of the killer chemicals believed responsible for bowel cancer.

A 2015 report by the World Health Organisation classed processed meats as a group one carcinogen which could cause an additional 34,000 worldwide cancer deaths a year.

New analysis suggests that this could equate to 6,600 bowel cancer cases in the UK every single year.

Director of the Queen's University Belfast Institute for Global Food Safety Professor Chris Elliott, senior cardiologist Aseem Malhotra and leading nutritionist Chris Gill were joined by politicians including Labour's Tom Watson in making the call for action.

"There is a consensus of scientific opinion that nitrites in processed meats result in the production of carcinogenic nitrosamines - and therefore increase cancer risk for those who regularly consume traditional bacon and ham," they said.

"For these reasons, we are concerned that not enough is being done to raise awareness of nitrites in our processed meat and their health risks, in stark contrast to warnings regularly issued regarding sugar and fattening foods.

"A united and active front is needed from policy-makers, the food industry and the cancer-care community.

"We must work together to raise awareness of their risks and encourage the much wider use of nitrite-free alternatives that are safer and can reduce the number of cancer cases."

Dr Malhotra said the failure to act on evidence of the harm from nitrites risked comparisons with the tobacco industry's past refusal to accept the dangers posed by cigarettes.

"Nitrites are used to cure bacon and ham, but when the meat is cooked and ingested by humans they create nitrosamines," he said.

"When it comes to nitrosamines, there are no ifs, nor buts; they are carcinogenic.

"Yet, despite these facts, the vast majority of bacon on sale today still contains these dangerous carcinogens.

"Government action to remove nitrites from processed meats should not be far away. Nor can a day of reckoning for those who continue to dispute the incontrovertible facts.