The French National Food Safety Agency (Anses) recommends consuming less than 150 grams of charcuterie per week to limit exposure to nitrites and nitrates, taking into account the proven relationship between these elements and the risk of developing Colorectal cancer.
In an opinion of recommendations published this Tuesday and that the government has promised to put into practice, the Anses recommends in the same line to reduce the nitrates and nitrites that are normally incorporated into charcuterie to limit the development of bacteria that can cause other diseases. such as salmonellosis, listeriosis or botulism.
In this case, it would be a matter of making use of these chemical components “as low as reasonably possible” and always “with the imperative condition of taking measures to control the risk of contamination” by these other bacteria by other means.
In this regard, the experts of this body propose, for example, that in cooked ham to compensate for the decrease in nitrites, the expiration date be brought forward.
In cured ham, it would be necessary to carry out “strict control” of salt and temperature in the various stages of treatment and drying.
They point out that the use of plant extracts that some manufacturers use as substitutes for nitrites do not really constitute an alternative, since “they contain hidden nitrates and nitrites”.
It should be noted that the delicatessen is the butcher shop specialized in the commercialization of pork products and its by-products: cold meats and sausages such as sausages, sausages, sausages, salami, ham in different formats, among others.
Anses also asks that some agricultural practices be modified, such as the application of fertilizers and the dumping of manure, since they contaminate the water tables from which the drinking water comes out with nitrates.
In another statement, the Ministries of Health and Agriculture assure that, as promised in February, the government will apply the agency’s recommendations.
The two departments specify that there will be “a coordinated action plan” to reach “the reduction or elimination of the use of nitrogenous additives in all food products where this is possible without a health impact and as quickly as possible.”
Specifically, before the end of this month of July, the technical managers of the sectors involved will meet and a series of actions will be presented to Parliament in the autumn.
The Anses notes that more than half of the nitrites ingested by the population come from the consumption of charcuterie and two thirds of the nitrates from other vegetable products, particularly vegetables in which the leaf is eaten, such as salad and spinach.
And above all, it refers to international studies that have established the link between colorectal cancer (which causes around 18,000 deaths a year in France) and exposure to nitrates and nitrites.
After an analysis of the publications from the works of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2017 and the International Cancer Research Center (CIRC) in 2018, Anses confirms this association and insists that when The greater the exposure to these chemicals ingested with delicatessen or with the mouthwater, the greater the risk of cancer.
The French scientific body recognizes that practically the entire French population does not exceed the maximum recommended doses that the EFSA has established separately for nitrates and nitrites, but suggests that a reference toxicological value be established that includes the added effect of both items.
The reason is that nitrates and nitrites, once ingested, generate nitrogenous compounds and some of them are carcinogenic.
In response to doubts about the cocktail effect, the French government has promised this Tuesday to commission new research and recalls that a European opinion is expected by the end of the year for a possible review of the permissible daily dose of nitrites.
Community regulations now provide for a maximum of 150 milligrams of nitrites per kilo of charcuterie, but according to the French government in France the meat sector now does not exceed 120 milligrams.