December 1, 2015


Portugal meat sector suffers backlash from WHO report


Portugal's meat industry has reported a 5% decrease in meat sales as a result of a WHO report released in October linking cancer risks to red meat and processed meat.


A news report carried by news agency Xinhua said the Portuguese Meat Industry (APIC) rejected the WHO study as "inappropriate" for attributing a higher cancer risk to "just one factor (meats)".


"This is a very complex subject that can be dependent on a combination of many other factors, such as age, genetics, diet, environment and lifestyle. Not only a particular group of food by itself that defines the risks to health but the diet as a whole, in conjunction with any of the other factors," APIC said.


A study spearheaded by WHO-attached International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had classified red meat as "probably carcinogenic" and processed meat, such as hot dogs, ham, sausages and corned beef causes colorectal cancer, as "carcinogenic".


In the face of the reported 5% decline in meat sales, the Portuguese National Statistics Institute (INE) disclosed that consumption of beef and pork (classified as red meat) among Portuguese consumers has been dropping since 2008, while that of poultry meats are rising.


Portugal's general health directorate (DGS), meanwhile, has warned that Portuguese consumption of meat remains "too high". 

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