AMA tells hospitals to remove processed meats from menus

Tuesday, 11 July, 2017

With about 34 000 cancer deaths per year worldwide caused by diets high in processed meat (Global Burden of Disease Project), the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates has called on US hospitals to improve the health of patients, staff and visitors by:

  • providing a variety of healthful food, including plant-based meals and meals that are low in fat, sodium and added sugars;
  • eliminating processed meats from menus; and
  • providing and promoting healthful beverages.

This resolution, which was co-sponsored by the Medical Society of the District of Columbia and the American College of Cardiology, has been commended by the Physicians Committee — a non-profit of 12,000 doctors.

Processed meats include all pork, beef, lamb, goat and other red meats, poultry, offal or meat by-products such as blood that have been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation. Ham, bacon, sausages, hot dogs, corned beef and biltong, as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces, are all examples of processed meats.

The World Health Organization has classified processed meat as ‘Group 1, carcinogenic to humans’ based on epidemiological studies showing the development of colorectal cancer in exposed humans.

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