The writers often mention that vegetables are the primary source of nitrates, and that human saliva is high in nitrite. Not even the WHO panel is saying that you should give up meat. The World Health Organization has confirmed some rather unwelcome dietary advice: Bacon, hot dogs and other processed meats can increase your risk of cancer. Last month, Michele Rivasi, a French MEP, launched a campaign – in collaboration with Coudray – demanding a ban of nitrites from all meat products across Europe. Pork ribs and beef sirloin are grouped into the same category, but they’re very different foods. One French brand of sodium nitrite from the 60s was called Vitorose or “quick-pink”. As Corinna Hawkes points out, it is “surprising” that there hasn’t been more of an effort from government to inform people about the risks of eating ham and bacon, perhaps through warning labels on processed meats. When all the bacon was cooked, he would take a few squares of bread and fry them in the meaty fat until they had soaked up all its goodness. (“It was very detrimental,” said Kirsty Adams, the product developer for meat at Marks and Spencer.). After headlines proclaimed that bacon and hot dogs cause cancer -- a response to the WHO's classifying processed meat as a human carcinogen -- the WHO has issued a … In earlier centuries, bacon-makers who used saltpetre did not understand that it converts to nitrite as the meat cures. Researchers still don’t know what it is about red and processed meats that could be causing cancer. Organic bacon produced with nitrates sounds like a contradiction in terms, given that most consumers of organic food buy it out of concerns for food safety. Because anyone who’s ever gotten colorectal cancer will probably tell you: Do whatever you can to avoid it. It may be possible that epidemiologists have not asked people more detailed questions about what kind of processed meats they eat because they assume there is no mass-market alternative to bacon made without nitrates or nitrites. But instead of spelling this out, the WHO moves swiftly on to the question of how both red and processed meats might cause cancer, after adding that “it is not yet fully understood how cancer risk is increased”. The madness, in his view, is that it is possible to make bacon and ham in ways that would be less carcinogenic. The meat industry’s tactics in defending bacon have been “right out of the tobacco industry’s playbook”, according to Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University. The attachment of producers to nitrates in bacon is mostly “cultural”, says Gower. ... WHO Claims Bacon is a Class 1 Carcinogen. The bacon currently sells in Waitrose for £3 a pack, which is not the cheapest, but not prohibitive either. In January 2018, Finnebrogue used this technology to launch genuinely nitrate-free bacon and ham in the UK. The first attempts to fight back were simply to ridicule the scientists for over-reacting. The problem with this reasoning, as I see it, is that it can’t account for why processed meat is so much more closely linked to cancer than cooked red meat. A whole tranche of articles insisted in a commonsense tone that it would be premature and foolish to ditch our meaty fry-ups just because of a little cancer scare. Then you decide between smoked or unsmoked – each version has its passionate defenders (I am of the unsmoked persuasion). The botulism argument was a smokescreen. There is much confusion about what “processed meat” actually means, a confusion encouraged by the bacon industry, which benefits from us thinking there is no difference between a freshly minced lamb kofta and a pizza smothered in nitrate-cured pepperoni. But just when it looked as if this may be #Bacongeddon (one of many agonised bacon-related hashtags trending in October 2015), a second wave of stories flooded in. To the gastronomic horror of many, The Daily Mail reported this week that the WHO … A World Health Organization (WHO) group declared on Monday that processed meat, like hot dogs and bacon, causes cancer and red meat likely does as well. The WHO panel wasn’t unanimous in its decision to deem meats carcinogenic. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats including ham, bacon, salami and frankfurts as a Group 1 carcinogen (known to cause cancer) which means that there’s strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer. Processed meat includes hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage, and some deli meats. But the average British sausage – as opposed to a hard sausage like a French saucisson – is not cured, being made of nothing but fresh meat, breadcrumbs, herbs, salt and E223, a preservative that is non-carcinogenic. And beef, pork, … The widespread willingness to forgive pink, nitrated bacon for causing cancer illustrates how torn we feel when something beloved in our culture is proven to be detrimental to health. In 1993, Parma ham producers in Italy made a collective decision to remove nitrates from their products and revert to using only salt, as in the old days. By the 1970s, animal studies showed that small, repeated doses of nitrosamines and nitrosamides – exactly the kind of regular dose a person might have when eating a daily breakfast of bacon – were found to cause tumours in many organs including the liver, stomach, oesophagus, intestines, bladder, brain, lungs and kidneys. Yet it is this very colour that we should be suspicious of, as the French journalist Guillaume Coudray explains in a book published in France last year called Cochonneries, a word that means both “piggeries” and “rubbish” or “junk food”. Despite everything, most of us still treat bacon as a dear old friend. I thought about hospital wards and the horrible pain and indignity of bowel cancer. The WHO advised that consuming 50g of processed meat a day – equivalent to just a couple of rashers of bacon or one hotdog – would raise the risk of getting bowel cancer by 18% over a lifetime. To be told that bacon had given millions of people cancer was a bit like finding out your granny had been secretly sprinkling arsenic on your morning toast. British supermarkets reported a £3m drop in sales in just a fortnight. It has been ranked as a group one carcinogen – the same ranking as cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos. Bacon is proof, if it were needed, that we cling to old comforts long after they have been proven harmful. In his book, Coudray points out that in coming years, millions more poor consumers will be affected by preventable colon cancer, as westernised processed meats conquer the developing world. In an ideal world, we would all be eating diets lower in meat, processed or otherwise, for the sake of sustainability and animal welfare as much as health. But for the rest of us, it was alarming to be told that these beloved foods might be contributing to thousands of needless human deaths. Some day soon, Hawkes believes, consumers will finally wake up to the clear links between cancer and processed meat and say “Why didn’t someone tell me about this?”. As Joshua A. Krisch explains at Vocativ , right now, your lifetime risk of colorectal cancer is about five percent . The part of the story we haven’t been told – including by the WHO – is that there were always other ways to manufacture these products that would make them significantly less carcinogenic. Yes, bacon really is killing us – podcast. The most amazing thing about the bacon panic of 2015 was that it took so long for official public health advice to turn against processed meat. 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