xi's moments
Home | Europe

Transatlantic trade deal could spell danger, author warns

By Earle Gale in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-02-14 21:59

A trade deal between the United Kingdom and the United States could open the door to British stores being swamped with dangerous products from across the Atlantic Ocean, an author has claimed.

Guillaume Coudray, the French journalist who wrote Who Poisoned Your Bacon Sandwich?, claims, after a decade of investigation into the food industry, that bacon and ham from the US could be marketed in the UK under misleading labels as a result of a poor deal.

"The American processed meat industry acts just like big tobacco," Coudray told the Observer newspaper. "It obscures the truth about nitro-meats and clouds the facts for its own commercial benefit – and they have been at it for decades. They have done this despite clear and overwhelming evidence that nitro-meats cause bowel cancer."

Coudray said the US processed meat industry creates "nitro-meats" by using nitrites to cure pork, so the meat looks fresher for longer. He said, while nitrites are generally harmless, they become dangerous when cooked and ingested, because they produce carcinogenic nitrosamines.

The Guardian newspaper noted that the European Commission does not allow meat to be cured with nitrites that have been extracted from vegetables, because it believes they are the most likely to cause bowel cancer. However, the bloc does allow nitrites to be used that are created differently, something Coudray said is less dangerous, but not without risk.

The Daily Mail quoted him as saying the EU's food regulations could themselves be to blame for thousands of avoidable cancer deaths each year.

Now that the UK is no longer a member of the EU, London is free to choose which types of processed meat it will allow; either US meats cured with vegetable-derived nitrites, EU-style cooked meat created with other types of nitrites, or meat cured without the use of nitrites at all, something he says is possible and preferable.

The row over bacon is similar to one that focused on so-called chlorinated chicken, which blew up last year when a new round of trade talks between London and Washington began.

The practice of washing poultry meat with chlorine is widespread in the US but outlawed in the EU.

The UK, which is now free to decided its stance on the practice, has said it wants to keep chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef off its supermarket shelves, but the nation could come under pressure to allow both under the terms of a potential transatlantic trade deal, the BBC reported.

"A free-trade deal between the UK and the US poses a real risk of flooding the British market with dangerous bacon," Coudray said. "As a result of inaccurate and misleading American packaging, consumers will have no way of knowing which products are genuinely safer."

The World Health Organization, or WHO, said in 2015 that diets rich in processed meats have been linked to 34,000 cases of colorectal cancer worldwide per year. The WHO said people should limit their intake of processed meats to 50 grams a day, which is equivalent to two rashers of bacon. The organization said a diet that includes more than 50 grams of processed meat a day raises the risk of bowel cancer by 18 percent over the course of a lifetime.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349