Cancer warning irrelevant

The latest cancer warnings on bacon and sausage consumption are irrelevant for most consumers, meat bosses have pointed out.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has re-released its report, claiming a link between processed meats and the risk of cancer.

The WCRF said more needed to be done to get across the message that people who eat processed meat regularly are putting their health at risk.

It said eating one sausage or three rashers of bacon a day could increase the risk of bowel cancer by a fifth.

However, meat bosses have pointed out that, for the vast majority of UK consumers, the warning is irrelevant as very few people consume such quantities of processed meat.

A spokesman for the British Pig Executive said: "For the vast majority of people this need not affect their eating habits in the slightest.

"The WCRF report talks of one sausage a day, the average UK consumption is less than three a week. On bacon, they talk about three rashers a day, but people generally only eat two a week."

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said its advice on red meat consumption remained unchanged. A spokesman said: "The FSA has not issued specific advice on safe weekly or annual consumption levels for red meat but continues to recommend that meat can be consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet."

However the WCRF recommends people eat less than 17.6oz of cooked red meat a week and avoid all processed meat

Prof Martin Wiseman, from WCRF, said there was convincing evidence of a link between processed meats and cancer. He said: "We are more sure now than ever before that eating processed meat increases your risk of bowel cancer.

"Whether it is bacon or ham, the safest amount to eat is none at all."

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