Ban processed meat adverts in the UK

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Processed meat has been classified as carcinogenic to humans by the WHO. As little as one serving a day increases the risk of diabetes by 50% and heart disease by 42% (guardian) and causes 8,500 cancers every year. Processed meat was now in a group of 120 proven carcinogens, alongside alcohol, asbestos and tobacco. 

The WHO advised that consuming 50g of processed meat a day – equivalent to just a couple of rashers of bacon or one hotdog – would raise the risk of getting bowel cancer by 18% over a lifetime. The consumption of processed meat causes an additional 34,000 worldwide cancer deaths a year, four times the number of people killed annually on Britain’s roads. 

Consuming just 9g of bacon a day – less than a rasher – could significantly raise the risk of developing breast cancer later in life. Jill Pell from Glasgow University says that “it would be misleading” for health authorities to set any safe dose for processed meat “other than zero”. 

Almost all processed meats have added sodium nitrate as a preservative, a classified carcinogen. The rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes from processed meat is higher than that from sugar, the latter which is under immense scrutiny and tax. An appalling 35,000 people die in Britain from processed meats each year, preventable by Britons cutting meat to just 3 meals a day. As such, meat has immense financial impacts, and an estimated £1.2 bn pounds could be saved by the NHS if meat consumption dropped. 

Like the ban on adverts on the tobacco industry, processed meat too must have strict laws on its advertisements to the general public to save countless lives for a healthier future Britain.  According to the American Psychological Association, just one ad creates a subconscious preference for a product, drives requests for that product, and is enough to result in a change in purchasing habits. With great power, there must be great responsibility. New York city schools are looking to ban serving processed meats in March 2018, a big step that could stop the health problems of processed meats such as hot dogs, ham, bacon and sausage. On a nationwide scale however, the only way to discourage consumption must be through a ban on explicit adverts of processed meats, which we all demand to be in place.  



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