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Food Ministry to make guidelines for daily processed meat intake

Food Ministry to make guidelines for daily processed meat intake

Posted October. 28, 2015 08:38,   


“Ham, sausage, beef and pork are all said to have cancer causing substance. Can’t we eat these anymore?”

The World Health Organization has classed processed meat such as ham and sausage as carcinogens, putting them in the same category as asbestos and tobacco. As a result, Korea’s Food and Drug Safety Ministry said Tuesday it would come up with a separate guideline for processed meat intake for Koreans. This is aimed to minimize confusion arising among consumers as well as livestock and processed food industries.

The guideline will include daily and weekly recommended processed meat intake, as is already done with mercury content of different fish along with recommended amounts. “In its announcement, the WHO said processed and red meat have both harm and benefits,” Food Ministry spokesman Ahn Man-ho said. "We will first conduct a detailed risk assessment on processed meat and then consult with domestic experts and the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ministry to finally come up with a domestic standard.”

“Each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent,” the WHO‘s International Agency for Research on Cancer stated in an announcement Sunday. Processed meat includes ham, sausage and hamburger patties and so on.

Food experts in Korea say it’s not right to take the WHO’s announcement as face value. “Nitrosamine in pickled fish is ranked as group 1 carcinogen by the IARC,” said Ha Sang-do, professor of food engineering at Chung-Ang University. “Almost all foods contain some amount of carcinogens. Rather than excluding unconditionally processed and red meat, it is important to eat proper amount based on individual’s eating habits.”

“A daily intake of 50 grams of processed meat translates into 18.3 kilograms a year. This is four times that of per person processed meat consumption (4.4 kilograms) in Korea,” the Korea Processed Meat Association said. “It should be noted that Korean’s processed meat intake is less than people in Germany (30.7 kilograms) and Japanese people (7.2 kilograms).”