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Eating Better alliance call for significant reduction in processed meat consumption

Reports | Published  20 September 2023

A new resource from Eating Better considers the health impacts of processed meat and highlights the need for public sector caterers and health organisations to focus efforts on reducing processed meat consumption in the UK.

Government /Food Retail /Food Service

Processed meat is an unnecessary staple in the UK, currently making up about 30% of the average meat intake per person. This new report from Eating Better shows that each 50g of processed meat (equivalent to two slices of ham or one sausage) eaten on average per day can increase your relative risk of poor health outcomes including bowel cancer, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

It's no secret that our diets are a major contributor to climate change. Halving the amount of meat we eat is crucial to limiting global warming to 1.5°C. With the pressure to reduce our consumption of meat, focusing on a type of meat we know is linked to health risks is a great place to start. The public knows they need to reduce how much meat they’re eating, and are looking for support and clear guidance.

“The science is clear. Processed meat is harmful for our health. Reducing processed meat consumption would go a long way to lowering the risk of diet-related diseases, as well as supporting our climate goals. Public sector caterers together with health organisations are well placed to lead the way. ” - Simon Billing, Executive Director, Eating Better

“As a member of Eating Better as we see the co-benefits of bringing together the health and environmental benefits of sustainable eating patterns. For a win-win, our own advice is to generally prioritise plant proteins and to try to avoid processed meat. It’s encouraging to see such a broad coalition get behind this advice, and look to translate this into what’s on our plate and how we advise people on food.” -  Liz Stockley, CEO, British Dietetic Association

“The Faculty of Public Health supports reduced meat consumption in line with the recommendations of the UK Climate Change Committee, and believes that reducing processed meat, the type most closely associated with increased health risks, is a sensible position to take. We support the key messages in this guide; its information will be useful in making the case for reducing the amount of processed meat on our plates.”  - Professor Kevin Fenton, President, Faculty of Public Health

View the report here.

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