Nitrates give pork-based products a pink color.
French health authorities said on Tuesday that they had confirmed a link between nitrates added to processed meat and colon cancer, a blow to the country’s award-winning ham and healing sausage industry.
The national food safety agency Anses said its study of data published on the subject supported similar conclusions in 2015 from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Anses “recommends reducing the supply of nitrates and nitrites by deliberately limiting exposure through food consumption,” it said in a statement.
Nitrates are added to a variety of food products to improve their shelf life and taste, and to give pork-based products their pink tint.
France is one of the largest producers of cold cuts in the world, locally known as “charcuterie”, which are often consumed as snacks or with early evening drinks.
The government immediately announced that it would unveil an action plan later this year to reduce the use of the add-ons.
“It is about limiting their use to the strictly necessary,” said a joint statement from the ministers of health and agriculture. “The cuts must be made in a balanced way that guarantees food safety for the consumer.”
The 2015 WHO warning caused headlines around the world after the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that processed meat should be classified as a group 1 carcinogen.
The warning applies to all processed meats, from the bacon eaten in large quantities in the US and Britain, to Italian salami, Spanish chorizo, German bratwurst and French charcuterie.
Anses said in her statement that reducing nitrates would result in increased risks of serious diseases such as botulism, listeria or salmonella.
But these dangers could be managed through shorter best-for-consumption dates and customized production processes, it added.
“For the scientific facts, the political class must take action,” campaign group Foodwatch, the League Against Cancer and health monitoring app Yuka said in a joint statement.
Get the greatest business stories email to you every day of the week.
Go to the Fin24 front.
Colon cancer warning a blow for French ham, cold meat
Source link Colon cancer warning a blow for French ham, cold meat