Czech meat industry denounces UN report on cancer risks
Czechs have a reputation as some of the biggest meat eaters in Europe but their carnivorous habits could be taking a hit after a United Nations agency suggested that eating processed meats and red meats can seriously increase the chances of cancer.
Kurt Straif is head of research at the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and explained the latest findings.
“The working group concluded that the consumption of processed meat is carcinogenic to humans and this was based primarily on strong evidence that consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer. There was also an association observed with stomach cancer.”
The WHO study found that there also appeared to be an increased cancer risk from eating red meat which had not been processed but here the evidence was not so clear cut and this has been labelled as just ‘probably carcinogenic’ for humans.
The latest research bolters the findings from other studies about the risks from eating red and processed meat.
But the findings results have largely been downplayed or brushed off at Czech official levels and from groups representing farmers and the meat processing industry. Miroslav Toman is the president of the Czech Chamber of Agriculture and had this to say in response to the findings.
“As regards this information, we are waiting for the standpoint of the so-called EFSA organization which is the authority for food safety within the European Union because we have to comply with European rules and regulations. We will see what happens there. Nonetheless when you see what other substances smoked meats are now grouped with such as tobacco, plutonium and other substances, I can only smile. If people eat quality products and in reasonable amounts then everything should be alright.”
The Czech Meat Processors’ Association denounced the report as scaremongering and unfounded. Jan Katina is the association’s director.
He expects no drop in Czech sales of smoked and processed meats.