Processed meats have been classified as carcinogenic according to WHO

The World Health Organization announced that processed and red meat can cause cancer on the basis of a report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, Department of the World Health Organization). According to the report supported by sufficient evidence, processed meats are classified by IARC as Group 1 carcinogenic to humans.


Τhe report outlined that simply eating 50 grams of processed meat each day - the equivalent of two slices of ham - can increase the risk of cancer of colon or colorectal by 18%. In the National Dietary Guidelines developed and published by Prolepsis Institute, it has already been recommended for both children and adults to avoid processed meat. For adults only, if they wish to consume it, it is recommended no more than 20 to 30 grams per week, e.g. 1 slice of processed meat.

According to the Director of IARC, as there is a huge number of people worldwide consuming processed meat products, the matter is of major importance for public health.

Processed meat is defined the meat that has been preserved using methods such as smoking, maturation, addition of salt and / or chemical substances (e.g., sodium nitrite). This category includes all meat products (e.g. ham, turkey or chicken slices, pariza, salami, bacon, prosciutto, pastrami, “soutzouki”, smoked ham, “apaki”, sausages etc.), as well as pre-prepared (fresh or frozen) meat products (e.g., hamburgers, kebabs, breaded chicken cutlets, etc.).

It has to be noted that, the meals which are prepared and distributed to schoolchildren participating in the Program on Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition, DIATROFI do not contain any kind of processed meat. They are based on the healthy nutrition and meet the strictest guidelines. Further information on the meals of the program and their quality, can be found on the following link: http://bit.ly/1H6Azjz

The National Dietary Guidelines are accessible on the website www.diatrofikoiodigoi.gr

The announcement of IARC appears on the following links:

http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf and http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/Monographs-Q&A_Vol114.pdf.