Calls to rid bacon and ham of processed nitrites
Wednesday 2 January 2019
Leading scientists and a cross-party group of politicians are calling for chemicals called nitrites to be removed on processed meats like bacon and sausages, due to the bowel cancer risk they pose.
MPs and doctors said there was a consensus of scientific opinion that, when cooked and eaten, nitrites produce nitrosamines - chemicals which can cause bowel cancer. The group are calling on the government to launch a public awareness campaign, similar to the war on sugar and fattening foods, to raise awareness of the risks of nitrites.
Lauren Wiggins, Director of Services for Bowel Cancer UK, says: “This campaign reinforces the substantial evidence that eating processed meats such as bacon, ham, salami, and some sausages can increase your risk of bowel cancer. Therefore it is best to avoid these foods as much as possible. Other meats, like hamburgers or minced meats, only count as processed if they have been preserved with certain chemical additives, so it is always best to make sure you check the label.
“We know that nearly 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year, it’s the fourth most common cancer in the UK. Making simple changes to your lifestyle, like cutting out processed meat, can help stack the odds against bowel cancer. As well as limiting our intake of red meat, being of a healthy weight, cutting down on alcohol, taking more exercise, and stopping smoking can all make a real difference.”
- Learn more about how your diet can reduce your bowel cancer risk
- Download our free booklet on how simple lifestyle changes can improve your bowel health
- Find out the symptoms of bowel cancer