The World Health Organisation has ranked cured and processed meats as a major cause of cancer alongside asbestos, alcohol, arsenic and tobacco. The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said there was enough evidence to rank processed meats such as bacon, ham and sausages as group 1 carcinogens due to its causal link with bowel cancer. Red meat is classified as group 2A, “probably carcinogenic to humans”. Eating red meat is linked to pancreatic and prostate cancer. A group of international experts scrutinized over 800 studies.
The IARC concluded that each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. Dr Kurt Straif, head of IARC monographs programme said, “for an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed.”