Are food preservatives causing cancer?

1. I’ve had three friends diagnosed with cancer in the last three years.

2. Some medical students told me recently that all research points toward food preservatives.

3. During my time in West Africa (2011) filming a documentary on microlending, the community leaders said most of their people die from old age. Cancer, heart disease, etc., is unheard of.

When I found this article, I sent it to my brother Wayne to hear his thoughts. He and his wife (Maria) have advanced degrees in Chemical Engineering. His comments were as follows:

“The article is true except that sodium nitrate is used as a preservative not a colorant. Processed meats last for several weeks in the fridge, but all natural meats only last 3 or 4 days. That’s why nobody wants to ban preservatives. Another study concluded that eating processed meats 3 or more times per week resulted in a much higher death rate over a long period of time. Cancer, stroke, heart disease, all kinds of stuff.”

Here’s the article. Share it with loved ones as I have mine.

Processed Meats Declared Too Dangerous For Human Consumption by Adam McLeod.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has just completed a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer. Its conclusion is rocking the health world with startling bluntness: Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption. Consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives.

Processed meatsProcessed meats include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and virtually all red meat used in frozen prepared meals. They’re usually manufactured with a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite. This is used as a color fixer by meat companies to turn packaged meats a bright red color so they look fresh. Unfortunately, sodium nitrite also results in the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the human body, leading to an increase in cancer risk.

A 2005 University of Hawaii study found processed meats increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67%. Another study revealed that every 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent. Note that these cancer risks do not come from eating fresh, non-processed meats. They only appear in people who regularly consume processed meat products containing sodium nitrite.

Sodium nitrite appears predominantly in red meat products (you won’t find it in chicken or fish products). Here’s a short list of food items to check carefully for sodium nitrite and monosodium glutamate (MSG), another dangerous additive:

Beef jerky
Hot dogs
Sandwich meat
Frozen pizza with meat
Canned soups with meat
Frozen meals with meat
Ravioli and meat pasta foods
Kid’s meals containing red meat
Sandwich meat used at popular restaurants
Nearly all red meats sold at public schools, restaurants, hospitals, hotels and theme parks

If sodium nitrite is so dangerous to humans, why do the FDA and USDA continue to allow this cancer-causing chemical to be used? The answer, of course, is that food industry interests now dominate the actions by U.S. government regulators. The USDA, for example, tried to ban sodium nitrite in the late 1970′s but was overridden by the meat industry.5 It insisted the chemical was safe and accused the USDA of trying to “ban bacon.”

Today, the corporations that dominate American food and agricultural interests hold tremendous influence over the FDA and USDA. Consumers are offered no real protection from dangerous chemicals intentionally added to foods, medicines and personal care products.

You can protect yourself and your family from the dangers of processed meats by following a few simple rules:

Always read ingredient labels.
Don’t buy anything made with sodium nitrite or monosodium glutamate.
Don’t eat red meats served by restaurants, schools, hospitals, hotels or other institutions.
And finally, eat more fresh produce with every meal. There is evidence that natural vitamin C found in citrus fruits and exotic berries (like camu camu) helps prevent the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines, protecting you from the devastating health effects of sodium nitrite in processed meats. The best defense, of course, is to avoid eating processed meats altogether.


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  1. #1 by Milan on March 2, 2014 - 3:10 pm

    A study conducted in Germany and published in Meat Science Journal showed that not more than 15% of nitrates in our diet comes from various meat products. Not justifying the use (which is necessary btw, but there are no alternatives for now), I just think that people should be aware that around 40% of nitrites in our organism comes from vegetables, 30% from grain and the rest from water and they naturally occur there. And nitrites that are actually bad are the residual one (around 50% of the amount actually put in meat) that do not bind to pigments and other meat compounds. I do not understand why no one mentions this in their so called “analysis”.

    • #2 by jrl on March 2, 2014 - 6:54 pm

      Thank you for that, Milan. Comments like these help a lot.

  2. #3 by Argenbright on December 3, 2013 - 6:49 pm

    I recently much like the information an individual present with your articles or blog posts. I’ll take a note of ones weblog and consider once again the following routinely. I’m just somewhat guaranteed I am going to learn lots of new material appropriate right here! Enjoy for the!

  3. #4 by celiactulabug on August 24, 2013 - 3:16 pm

    Reblogged this on tulabugblog.

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