OK, so we know this is bollocks then

The reputation of the meat industry will sink to that of big tobacco unless it removes cancer-causing chemicals from processed products such as bacon and ham, a coalition of experts and politicians warn today.

Led by Professor Chris Elliott, the food scientist who ran the UK government’s investigation into the horse-meat scandal, and Dr Aseem Malhotra,

If Malhotra’s involved it’s bollocks, that’s all we need to know here.

20 comments on “OK, so we know this is bollocks then

  1. And yet despite all these supposed scary chemicals in food, we’re living longer, healther lives than we ever have before…

  2. Haven’t we been curing pork for a couple if dozen centuries? The invention of preserving food was a major cause of the ability of humans to survive past the nearest tree and through winter.

  3. You’ve crunched the numbers before. Eating two slices of bacon a day raises the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. Eating 4oz of beef per day increases the risk of cancer by 17%. Both figures from the WHO. Not sure how they combine – does eating a bacon-topped burger every day give you a 35% greater risk?

    Anyway, your lifetime risk of bowel cancer is 6%, so an 18% increase just nudges it up to 7%.

  4. Not really, as Malhotra (correctly) doesn’t buy into the fat causes heart disease hypothesis. So, at least as right as a stopped clock.

    This needs a libertarian argument deploying against it, not an argument that can be dismissed as unscientific.

    – People know the potential risks.
    – They can easily choose not to take those risks.
    – Among those who do, the problem is minuscule (6000 calculated deaths a year).
    – A ban will deprive people of some level of quality and variety in their short lives.
    – Therefore this is none of the government’s business.
    – If you really have to, you can put a “health warning” on bacon and salami.

  5. Rather, the Orthodox Christian God does. Seeing as the strict ones are borderline vegan half the year.

  6. ‘In 2015 the World Health Organisation published evidence that linked processed meats to 34,000 cases of colorectal cancer worldwide each year – and identified nitrites and nitrosamines as the likely cause.’

    Surely with 34,000 they can provide the names of a few of them. Though ‘likely’ seems to refute their assertion directly.

    ‘The meat industry must act fast, act now – or be condemned to a similar reputational blow to that dealt to tobacco.’

    The American press successfully beat down Richard Nixon. They have been trying to repeat that political success for 50 years.

    They successfully beat down the tobacco industry (in their minds). They are trying to repeat that “success.” Problem is, they use cheesy propaganda.

    As Andrew M says, 18% is a trick number. When converted to absolute numbers, it’s no BFD. But also note that the use of maths, 18%, implies precision that simply does not exist.

    ‘Led by Professor Chris Elliott, the food scientist who ran the UK government’s investigation into the horse-meat scandal’

    His bona fides are impeccable, cos horse meat.

    What we have here is a corrupt press and corrupt government science, working together to steal the public’s joy.

  7. The use of salt is ancient but the use of nitrate salts is modern. Nitrate salts are used to make red meat look “Red” for longer and so stay looking good on supermarket shelves.

    The problem with Nitrates is they get converted in your stomach to Nitrosamines, which are basically the most toxic/carcinogenic compounds known to man.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrosamine

    Thing is, as Wikipedia notes, you can combat the problem by consuming ascorbic acid, or vitamin C as it is known to most people….So the whole thing is basically a bullshit food scare to round the year off with based upon a report, according to Sky News that was published three years ago.

    Presumably though, since none of us will apparently be able to afford any meat after Brexit, the problem will simply go away…

  8. But also note that the use of maths, 18%, implies precision that simply does not exist.

    A favourite trick of the authoritarian nanny statist. Lionel Shriver wrote a good article in the Times the other day pointing out the ridiculous nature of Public Health England’s demands that restaurants serve no dish with more than 573 calories (or whatever).

    As you say, they use numbers which imply an impossible level of precision.

  9. An average of two slices of bacon a day, even including all charcuterie, seems like quite a lot, as is an average of 4oz of beef.

    Festive gorging means I have probably packed in 28oz of red meat in the past week but I’d be hard pressed to do that on average. And I really like meat.

  10. What is the risk? Rare below age of 40. X% of rare = rare.

    90% of cases of rectal and colon cancer occur above the age of 50. The average age of contracting the disease is 68 for men and 72 for women.

    AND. Biggest risk factor, family history of these cancers.

    40% more Black people get rectal and colon cancer than White people – so it is a racist cancer.

    Summary. Primary risk factors: genetics, age, gender, race… not bacon.

  11. @ASM ‘The use of salt is ancient but the use of nitrate salts is modern. Nitrate salts are used to make red meat…’

    Not so modern. Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) has been used to make corned beef certainly from the 17th Century and using nitrates generally for preserving meat goes back much longer.

  12. “An average of two slices of bacon a day, even including all charcuterie, seems like quite a lot, ”

    !!!! W-w-what! Bacon’s a vitamin. Everyone knows that.

    “Festive gorging means I have probably packed in 28oz of red meat in the past week but I’d be hard pressed to do that on average.”
    Festive gorging’s had me packing in more red meat than that yesterday. Bloody pleasure to be eating something other than turkey, at last. Back on proper rations. Tomorrow we’ll be eating at the churrascaria brasaylena. As much as you liked, carved at the table, from a selection of 8 barbecued meats. There is a salad buffet. But there’s also chilli con carne & feijoada. So it’s avoidable.

  13. Typical statistic lying bullshit.
    If you aren’t dying of starvation/children chimney sweeping/industrial accidents/etc you will be dying of old age related problems: principally cancer.
    So eating preserved food increases risk of cancer by stopping you dying young. So you die old instead.
    Ergo: cure for cancer: shoot everybody on their 30th birthday. Sorted.
    I intended my ‘cancer cure’ as a rhetorical device, but then I thought of PHE…

  14. ‘It says there is evidence that consumption of processed meats containing these chemicals results in 6,600 bowel cancer cases every year in the UK – four times the fatalities on British roads’

    Did you see what he did there? Comparing ‘cases’ to ‘fatalities.’ Figures for how many of the 6,600 actually died from it is not revealed. We are encouraged to believe all did.

  15. Over 3000 people die EVERY DAY in the UK.
    It’s an outrage I tell you!

    NB. Gamecock, I had that film in mind also. 🙂
    Time to ‘Go Home’…

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