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Exposure to meat product additives increases the risk of colorectal cancer


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 Additives used in processed meat are linked to colon cancer.

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (Anses) confirmed that nitrates and nitrites in ham, saucisson, and other processed meat products increased the risk of colon cancer.

French government has come up with an action plan to curb the consumption of such additives

Nitrites and nitrates are used in processed meat products to preserve them and give them their pink shade.

“The higher the exposure, the greater the risk of colorectal cancer.” said the French health authorities.

“Reducing consumption of the range of nitrates and nitrites by deliberately limiting exposure through food consumption” recommended by the food safety body.

“The reduction must be done in a balanced way that guarantees food security for the consumer.” said France’s health and agricultural ministers.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government to release a “coordinated plan to lead the reduction or the suppression of the use of… additives in foodstuffs where that is possible without an impact on health”.

Anses’ findings are in line with a 2015 warning from the World Health Organisation (WHO)

 UN body’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said at the time that processed meats should be classified as group one carcinogens.

Classification is based on “sufficient evidence from epidemiological studies that eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer,” the WHO said.

WHO’s warning applied to all processed meat, including products like hot dogs, ham, sausages, corned beef, canned meat, and meat-based preparations and sauces.

Nitrites and nitrates as preservatives in cold cuts linked to colon cancer

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International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

Agency for cancer research, prevention and control of cancer.

World Health Organization (WHO)

Specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health