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Co-op slashes levels of chemical in bacon amid fears of a cancer risk

Co-op slashes levels of chemical in bacon amid fears of a cancer risk in move expected to be followed by other High Street retailers

  • The Co-op is reducing the amount of nitrites in its products by 60 per cent 
  • One study in 2015 has even linked nitrite-cured processed meats to cancer
  • Industry leaders are now taking measures to reduce or eliminate the chemical 

High Street stores are cutting levels of a chemical in bacon and other cured meats that has been linked to cancer.

The Co-op is leading the way, reducing the amount of nitrites in its products by 60 per cent. Other stores are expected to follow suit. 

A World Health Organisation-sponsored study in 2015 linked nitrite-cured processed meats to an increased incidence of cancer – particularly in the bowel.

Some smaller specialist suppliers sell nitrite-free bacon, which health experts say should be the aim for all products [File photo]

It said meats containing the chemical, used for decades to preserve bacon and ham, are ‘significantly more dangerous than other processed meats’. 

Experts warned that eating a couple of rashers of bacon or one hotdog every day would raise the risk of bowel cancer by around a fifth.

Efforts to get Health Secretary Matt Hancock to force manufacturers to cut the use of nitrites were unsuccessful.

However, industry leaders are now taking voluntary measures to protect the public by reducing or eliminating the chemical. 

Co-op’s director of food development Breige Donaghy said: ‘We’ve been able to reduce the amount of nitrites by 60 per cent without compromising preservation.’

Some smaller specialist suppliers sell nitrite-free bacon, which health experts say should be the aim for all products.

The Co-op is leading the way, reducing the amount of nitrites in its products by 60 per cent. Other stores are expected to follow suit [File photo]

The Co-op is leading the way, reducing the amount of nitrites in its products by 60 per cent. Other stores are expected to follow suit [File photo]

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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