Meat in moderation is good nutrient source, says FSA

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Meat

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said the potential link between red meat and bowel cancer should not discourage consumption, highlighting that meat “in moderation” can also be a good source of vitamins and minerals.

The agency was responding to reports in the media last week that ham sandwiches should not be included in children’s lunchboxes because of health concerns.

“While there is some evidence linking bowel cancer to red and processed meats, there is no evidence that the occasional ham sandwich will increase the risk,”​ said FSA in a statement on its website.

Cancer risk

The meat industry has taken a hard hit by reports that consumption of red meat may increase the risk of certain cancers.

According to a recent survey commissioned by the World Cancer Research Fund, over 10 per cent of people have tried to cut down on processed meat intake.

The survey came a year after the fund published a report that claimed that eating 150g of processed meat a day increased the risk of bowel cancer by 63 per cent.

In its recent statement, FSA said that parents should not be concerned about “occasionally”​ giving their children red and processed meats, but cautioned that these contain high levels of saturated fat and salt and so should not be consumed too often.

Balanced diet

In addition, the agency highlighted the beneficial nutrients that are contained in meat, and stressed the importance of a “balanced diet”.

“Meat is a good source of iron, zinc, B vitamins and protein, but, due to its high saturated fat content, it should be eaten in moderation,”​ it said.

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