We issued a press release yesterday highlighting the lack of awareness about the link between processed meat and cancer.
It has been covered by a number of newspapers, including The Metro and The Scotsman.
The press release focused on the fact that just 32 per cent of younger people are aware of the link between processed meat and cancer, according to a survey by YouGov.
But it’s worth pointing out that awareness about the link between processed meat and cancer is too low for people of all ages. Even for the group with the highest awareness, 45 to 54-year-olds, the figure is still only 41 per cent. This means that for every 10 people this age, about six of them are not aware that eating processed meat increases risk of cancer.
This is despite the fact that the evidence on processed meat and cancer is very strong. In fact, the Expert Panel that made the Recommendations in our 2007 cancer prevention Report concluded that there is convincing evidence that processed meat increases risk of bowel cancer.
This is why WCRF UK recommends that people avoid eating it. And when we talk about processed meat, we mean meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by the addition of preservatives. This includes bacon, ham, and some sausages and burgers.
Over the last three years, we have had lots of media coverage for our message on processed meat and cancer. We have had, for example, articles in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the BBC, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and The Sun to name but a few.
Despite all this coverage, this latest survey shows that we still have a lot of work to do to get across the message about the link between processed meat and cancer.
Unless people are aware of what the scientific research has found, then they are not in a position to make their own informed choices about how much processed meat to include in their diet.
If you want to find out more information about the links between processed meat and cancer, you can download our publication Red and Processed Meat: Finding the Balance for Cancer Prevention.