November 03, 2015 11:42
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is trying to ease public concerns after the World Health Organization recently classified processed meat such as bacon, ham and sausage as "carcinogenic to humans" and red meat such as beef, lamb and pork as "probably carcinogenic to humans."
The ministry on Tuesday said that the risk of getting cancer by consuming such meat is not high given the amount that Koreans consume.
It explained that the WHO report suggests there is sufficient evidence that meat items can cause cancer like cigarettes, but the risk of getting cancer is not the same.
"For example, smoking increases the likelihood of lung cancer by 20 times, and it is reportedly the main cause of over one million cancer deaths. But the WHO said eating 50g of processed meat every day will increase the likelihood of colorectal cancer by 18 percent, and consuming 100g of red meat every day by 17 percent. That means eating too much processed meat or red meat can be dangerous, not that we should all stop eating them," the ministry said.
According to health data from 2010 to 2013, Koreans eat an average of six grams of processed meat and 61.5 grams of red meat per day. The combined total is less than the recommended amount in the U.K. of 70 grams per day.
However, it is worth noting that as of 2013, men between the ages of 20 and 39 consumed over 100g of red meat per day and teenage boys consumed 18.2 grams of processed meat per day, much more than the national average.
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