The Facts and Misconceptions of Processed Meat

JANG YUSEOKl승인2015.12.10l344호

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 IARC(International Agency for Research on Cancer), a WHO(World Health Organization) affiliated organization, announced ‘processed meat’ is a first division of carcinogen and ‘Red meat’ is SecondA division of carcinogen on October 26th. In the manufacturing process, ‘PAH(Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons)’ a major element of fine dust is created, and sanitary conditions of the process are harmful and dirty. According to an American Corporation named Clear food, human DNA was detected in ‘processed meat’. Other carcinogens belonging to WHO’s first division are cigarettes, alcohol, asbestos, ultraviolet rays, and fine dust.

The health experts greeted the news but food processing companies and markets expressed concerns about the news. Professor Tim Key who leads a cancer research center at Oxford University supports IARC announcement. However, the meat manufacturers and markets didn’t. The Korea Market sales of ‘processed meat’ reduced 16.3% between November 6th and 8th.

Germany, Italy, Australia and France are representatives of processed meat intake countries and their citizens are very confused and embarrassed. In regard to citizens’ anxiety, Christian Schmidt, the German minister of Food and Agriculture, and the Austrian minister of Agriculture said, “Do not be afraid to eat bratwurst”, to reassure them.

Then, should we not eat ‘processed meat’? The ultraviolet rays, the WHO’s first division of carcinogen, from sunlight is dangerous, but basking in the sun moderately makes serotonin and vitamin D. Thus, WHO spokesperson said that ‘IARC investigation means that people should eat processed meat moderately, not excessively.’ When we reduce our consumption of ‘processed meat’, colorectal and rectal cancer risks may decrease. However, if we eat ‘processed meat’ up to 50 grams per day, the changes of contracting rectal cancer increase by about 18%. 50 grams of ‘processed meat’ is about 1.7 meatballs, 2 slices of smoked ham, 10 slices chorizo, 1.5 slices cured ham, half a hot dog, and one eight pack chicken roll.

WHO revealed that 1 million people die of cigarette a year and 0.6 million people die of alcohol a year, but only 34 thousand people die of ‘processed meat’ consumption. Thus, the way to protect our body is to eat suitable amount of processed food balancing with fruits or vegetable.


JANG YUSEOK  jys2580@ynu.ac.kr
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