Call for processed red meat sales to be restricted like tobacco, due to cancer link

Posted on the 19th September 2013

National campaign group Animal Aid has launched a campaign calling for processed red meat products – such as bacon, sausages and ham – to be restricted in the same way as tobacco products, because of their link to bowel cancer.

Proposals include:

  • Health warning labels
  • Removal from hospital menus
  • A ban on sales to those under the age of 18

In a newly published report, entitled No Safe Limit, Animal Aid outlines some of the numerous scientific studies to show that eating processed red meat increases the risk of developing bowel cancer – the second most lethal form of the disease in the UK after lung cancer. It also details efforts by the meat industry to undermine and suppress this research in a way that resembles tactics used by the tobacco industry.

Says Animal Aid campaigner and report author Ben Martin

‘The fact that eating processed red meat increases the risk of bowel cancer has been acknowledged by the World Health Organization, the World Cancer Research Fund and even the UK Department of Health. Yet little has been done to warn the public about the danger. In fact, elements within the meat industry have actively tried to prevent medical advice being circulated, effectively putting profit ahead of public wellbeing. The measures we are proposing would enable consumers to make more informed choices about the products they are buying, as well as protect children, who may not appreciate the risks.’

More than 40,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK each year, and around 15,700 die from the disease. Studies suggest that eating processed red meat can as much as double the risk of developing bowel cancer and that approximately one-fifth of all cases of the disease in the UK in 2010 could be attributed to the consumption of such products.

Animal Aid will be visiting several UK towns and cities with high rates of bowel cancer from 23rd-28th September in order to promote the campaign and encourage local residents to give up processed red meat products in favour of healthy, meat-free options.

Additional Information

For further information or to arrange an interview, contact Ben Martin on 01732 364546 ext 227.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded here. Printed copies are available on request.

Processed red meat refers to any non-poultry meat (pork, beef, lamb, etc) that has gone through a preserving process, such as salting, smoking or curing, and includes bacon, ham, sausages, pepperoni, salami, bologna, pastrami and hot dogs.

Cities to be visited as part of Animal Aid’s campaign tour include:

  • Gateshead – 23rd September
  • Edinburgh – 24th September
  • Glasgow – 25th September
  • Lanark – 26th September
  • Dumfries – 27th September
  • Liverpool – 28th September

Images relating to the No Safe Limit campaign, including an infographic and mocked-up images of processed red meat with health warning labels, can be seen and downloaded below.

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