Friday, 5 January 2018

Meat industry considers health risks of processed meats

"What was the meat industry’s response to leading cancer charities’ recommendation to stop eating processed meat, like bacon, ham, hot dogs, sausage, and lunchmeat? The industry acknowledges that the most recent international cancer prevention guidelines now urge people to avoid processed meat."

"`It is evident that…such a statement represents ‘a clear and present danger’ for the meat industry,` reads one response in the journal Meat Science.  Processed meat, it continues, is `a social necessity.` (How could anyone live without bologna?) The challenge for the meat industry, the response outlines, is to find a way to maintain the consumption of these convenience products while somehow not damaging public health."

"We’re still not sure what in processed meat is so carcinogenic, but the most probable educated guess for explaining the damaging effect of processed meats involves heme iron, along with nitrosamine and free radical formation, ultimately resulting in carcinogenic DNA damage. To reduce the nitrosamines, they could remove the nitrites, something the industry has been considering for decades because of the long-known toxic effects they cause. The industry adds them to keep the meat pink. There are, evidently, other coloring additives available. Nevertheless, it’s going to be hard to get industry to change `in view of the positive effects` of these substances as preservatives and in achieving a `desirable flavour and red colour developing ingredients.` No one wants green eggs and ham..."

"According to the World Health Organization’s IARC, processed meat is now a Group 1 carcinogenthe highest designation. How is it that schools still feed it to our children?"

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

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