£3m sliced from bacon & sausage profits after cancer warning

© Rick Wilking
Sales of bacon and sausages have plummeted in the wake of a World Health Organization (WHO) report which claimed that the consumption of processed meat is linked to cancer.

Businesses have recorded a £3 million drop in profits from the sale of such meat products over the last fortnight amid an ongoing row about the WHO report into their associated health risks which was published in October.

Analysts from business intelligence firm IRI Retail Advantage claimed sales of pre-packed bacon dropped 17 percent in the week following the report’s publication and that pre-packed sausage sales also slumped in late October and early November, they added.

The report by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) essentially declared processed meats are a carcinogen – a claim contested by some meat producers who say that fresh British sausages should not be classified as processed according to the WHO’s own guidelines.

For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” Dr Kurt Straif, head of the IARC monographs program, said of the report’s findings.

In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.