A recent study based on the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer
and Nutrition (EPIC) has allegedly identified a “moderate positive association”
between processed meat consumption and mortality due to cardiovascular
diseases, cancer and other causes. Sabine Rohrmann, et al., “Meat consumption
and mortality – results from the European Prospective Investigation into
Cancer and Nutrition,” BMC Medicine, March 2013. Relying on EPIC data from
448,568 healthy adults between ages 35 and 69, researchers reported that
consuming more than 160 grams (approximately 5.6 ounces) of processed
meat per day was related to moderately higher all-cause mortality. In
particular, they estimated “that 3.3 % … of all deaths could be prevented if all
participants had a processed meat consumption” of less than 20 grams (0.7
ounces) per day.

The study’s authors noted, however, that unlike similar studies undertaken
in the United States, their analysis did not find any association between red
meat intake and mortality. To account for these differences, they speculated
that processed meats typically “have a higher content of saturated fatty acids
and cholesterol than fresh red meat” in addition to being salted, cured or
smoked. “These processes… lead to an increased intake of carcinogens or
their precursors (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heterocyclic aromatic
amines, nitrosamines) or to a high intake of specific compounds enhancing
the development of carcinogenic processes (for example, nitrite),” concludes
the study. “The difference between the US studies and our result is likely due
to the stronger risk estimates observed in the US cohorts compared with our
cohort, but may also be explained by higher meat consumption in the US
than in Europe.”

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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