Almost All Ham and Bacon Contain Cancer-Causing Chemicals Experts Warn

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A top NHS doctor and senior food scientist have joined forces to call for action to discuss the cancer risks involved with consuming bacon, ham and other processed meats.

They called for Government action to help raise awareness on the health dangers of fatty and sugary foods. They mentioned ‘a growing consensus of scientific opinion’ that nitrates in processed meats lead to the production of killer chemicals believed to be responsible for bowel cancer.

According to a report by the World Health Organization, processed meats are classed as a group one carcinogen that could cause 34,000 cancer deaths a year worldwide. This could equate to 6,600 bowel cancer cases in the United Kingdom every year.

Professor Chris Elliot, the Director of the Queen’s University Belfast Institute for Global Food Safety, leading nutritionist Chris Gill, and senior cardiologist Aseem Malhotra were joined by politicians 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.”

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Dr. Malhotra said ignoring the harmful effects from nitrates risked comparisons with the tobacco industry’s previous refusal to admit the dangers of cigarettes.

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

Bowel Cancer Australia

“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.

“The meat industry must act fast, act now – or be condemned to a similar reputational blow to that dealt to tobacco.”

Kerry McCarthy, a Labor environment spokesperson, urged the government to “look closely at what it can be doing to raise awareness of the risks from these chemicals and persuade the food industry to make its bacon and ham safer”.

She also said: “These chemicals do not have to be in our food – and in years to come I am sure we will look back in disbelief that we allowed their use for so long.”

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Source: smalljoys

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