Processed protein may be convenient and delicious, but there’s danger in every bite

It was just less than a year ago that worldwide consumers almost jumped out of their skin when the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorised processed meats such as sausage, ham and bacon as not just unhealthy, but linked to cancer.

What is even more alarming in Thailand is the Foundation for Consumers announcement earlier this month that sausages are also detrimental to health.

Chalard Sue (Smart Buyers) magazine tested 15 samples of prepackaged sausages from a market and 14 of them were found to contain nitrate and nitrite — chemicals used for food preservation. Of these 14, three were reported to have contained more nitrates and nitrites than the amount allowed under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s standard. The rest had the chemicals, but not in high quantity. Of all the tested samples, only cocktail sausages under the Thai Sausage brand manufactured by Thai-German Meat Products Company Limited were found to contain zero nitrate or nitrite.

Such an announcement has triggered public paranoia as a few of the “lethal” sausages were from popular food brands.

For health and safety reasons, however, assistant professor in biological sciences Wenika Benjapong of Mahidol University’s Institute of Nutrition suggested that consumers lessen the amount and frequency of their consumption of processed meats.

“If you eat processed meats every day, you simply put yourself at health risks,” said Wenika.

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