France confirms link between processed meats and cancer

Source: news.sky.com : 2022-07-13 08:45:00 :

France is set to cut the use of nitrites in food after the national health agency confirmed they raise the risk of cancer.

A full French ban had been feared by processed meat manufacturers who use nitrites in products such as ham and sausages.

A review by Anses confirmed a World Health Organisation report in 2018 linking nitrates and nitrites ingested through processed meat to colorectal cancer.

The two substances are also suspected to be linked to other cancers such as ovarian, kidney, pancreas, and breast, Anses said.

The agency advised cutting nitrates and nitrites to a minimum.

Nitrate is used as a fertiliser in farming while nitrite is widely used in processed meats to extend their shelf life and to give boiled ham its pink colour.

The government said a full ban was not justified after Anses said that, based on French people’s consumption habits, 99% of the population did not exceed the permissible daily doses for all exposures to nitrites or nitrates.

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But officials said a plan would be presented to parliament in the autumn aimed at cutting or eliminating them when possible.

The move follows a French parliament bill in February aiming to gradually reduce the use of nitrites in cured meats which called on the government to act based on the outcome of the Anses review.

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