Study: Moderate link between processed meat consumption and early death

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 7, 2013

Everything in moderation is good, right? How about when the moderate adjective is given to the chance of death at an early age?

According to a new study published on the BMC Medicine Journal, the relation between consumption of processed meats is moderately related to early deaths in humans. The study concluded that diets high in processed meats were linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer and early deaths.

Along with the findings about consumption of processed meat and early death, researchers also discovered that people who ate a lot of processed meat were also more likely to smoke, be obese and have other behaviours that damage their health.

If a person ate more than 160g of processed meat a day, which is equal to two sausages and a slice of bacon, they were at least 44% more likely to die over the next 12.7 years. People who in contrast ate about 20g a day had much lower chances of suffering an early death.

For the span of the study, nearly 10,000 people died from cancer and 5,500 from heart problems as a consequence of abusive processed meat consumption.

Previous studies had already hinted at the relation between eating a lot of red processed meat and serious health problems. Back in in 2007 a study performed by the World Cancer Research Fund showed strong evidence that eating processed meat, such as bacon, ham, hot dogs, salami and some sausages, increased the risk of getting bowel cancer. According to Dr. Rachel Thompson, there would be 4,000 fewer cases of bowel cancer if people ate less than 10g of processed meats a day.

The study by analyzed 448,568 men and women who did not suffer from prevalent cancer, stroke, or myocardial infarction. Researchers evaluated their diet, and habits such as smoking, physical activity and body mass index. Those men and women were between 35 and 69 years old. Scientists used a method known as Cox proportional hazards regression to examine the association of meat consumption with all-cause and cause-specific mortality.

By mid 2009, June 2009, 26,344 deaths were identified as consequence of consuming large amounts of processed red meat. After carefully analyzing the data, researchers determined that a high consumption of red meat “was related to higher all-cause mortality”. An interesting revelation of the study is that men and women who consume larger amounts of processed meat actually eat less fruits and vegetables than people who intake less meat. This may be the reason why people who feed themselves according to the Mediterranean diet while eating considerable amounts of meat and exercising regularly do not suffer from serious health problems.

“The results of our analysis support a moderate positive association between processed meat consumption and mortality, in particular due to cardiovascular diseases, but also to cancer,” concluded the study.

The study published on the BMC Medical Journal points to a National Institutes of Health-American report which found positive associations between both red and processed meat consumption with risk for all-cause mortality. In that report, the association was stronger between red meat intake and early death than for processed meat consumption and health problems.

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Horse DNA found in Nestle products

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | FEBRUARY 26, 2013

Nestle has recalled six products made from beef provider Servocar after detecting that one of them, the microwave cannelloni The Cook, had traces of horse DNA on a percentage of 1 percent above the threshold that determines whether it is adulterated.

The discovery was made in meat containing products supplied by the company Servocar, located in Casarrubios del Monte (Toledo), which had certified that its products were 100 percent beef. Nestlé has decided to stop buying from Servocar and will act legally to demand responsibilities. The food contamination was found in Spain, where the supplier is responsible for providing beef products to Nestle’s line of industrialized food.

After the analyzes were completed, Nestle apparently withdrew the brand products from beef provider Servocar. Besides the microwave The Cook cannelloni, the company also recalled the fusilli Bolognese Buitoni, the meat Galician empanada, The Cook meat filling, eggplant gratin and The Cook meat pies.

Nestle assured the public that the traces of horse DNA had been detected only in the cannelloni, but that it had decided to recall all products made with meat supplied by Servocar.

“This does not pose a risk to the health of our consumers, but the error resulting in the labeling turns the products as non-compliers with what consumers expect from us,” said the company, which added that “soon” these products will be replaced with new ones made of 100 percent cattle beef that have passed DNA analysis.

The CEO of Nestlé in Spain, Bernard Meunier, said that this is a problem that affects the entire food industry. He qualified it as a “European-wide fraud” while describing the situation as “unacceptable”.

“I apologize to consumers and would reaffirm the will to be vigilant. We’re going to continue to make all DNA testing necessary to rule out any other contamination, so that we can avoid the same problem,” he assured.

In this regard, he stressed that since the company is improving quality control, its standards will “avoid something similar from happening again in the future.” “The quality and safety of our products is and will remain the number one priority for Nestlé,” he finished.

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World Food Prices Rise to Record on Sugar, Meat Costs

Bloomberg

World food prices rose to a record in December on higher sugar, grain and oilseed costs, the United Nations said, exceeding levels reached in 2008 that sparked deadly riots from Haiti to Egypt.Sugar Cane

An index of 55 food commodities tracked by the Food and Agriculture Organization gained for a sixth month to 214.7 points, above the previous all-time high of 213.5 in June 2008, the Rome-based UN agency said in a monthly report. The gauges for sugar and meat prices advanced to records.

Sugar climbed for a third year in a row in 2010, and corn jumped the most in four years in Chicago. Food prices may rise more unless the world grain crop increases “significantly” in 2011, the FAO said Nov. 17. At least 13 people died last year in Mozambique in protests against plans to lift bread prices.

“There is still, unfortunately, the potential for grain prices to strengthen on the back of a lot of uncertainty,” Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at the FAO, said by phone from Rome today. “If anything goes wrong with the South American crop, there is plenty of room for them to increase.”

White, or refined, sugar traded at $752.70 a metric ton at 11:53 a.m. on NYSE Liffe in London, compared with $383.70 at the end of June 2008. Corn, which added 52 percent last year on the Chicago Board of Trade, was at $6.01 a bushel, down from $7.57 in June 2008. Soybeans were at $13.6325 a bushel, against $15.74 at the close of June 2008.

Demand From China

The cost of food climbed 25 percent from a year earlier in December, based on the FAO figures, after Chinese demand strengthened and Russia’s worst drought in a half-century devastated grain crops. The agency’s food-price indicator rose from 206 points in November.

Last month’s year-on-year rise compares with the 43 percent jump in food costs in June 2008. Record fuel prices, weather- related crop problems, increasing demand from the growing Indian and Chinese middle classes, and the push to grow corn for ethanol fuel all contributed to the crisis that year.

“In 2008 we had rapid increases in petroleum prices, fertilizer prices and other inputs,” Abbassian said. “So far, those increases have been rather constrained. It doesn’t really reduce the fear about what could be in store in the coming weeks or months.”

New York-traded crude was last at $88.44 a barrel, compared with $140 at the end of June 2008. Bulk urea pellets, used in fertilizer as a source of nitrogen, were at $320 a ton in the last week of December, against $460 in June 2008.

9.1 Billion People

Global food production will have to rise 70 percent by 2050 as the world population expands to 9.1 billion people from about 6.8 billion people in 2010, the FAO has said.

In response to the 2008 crisis, countries from India and Egypt to Vietnam and Indonesia banned exports of rice, a staple for half the world. Skyrocketing food prices sparked protests and riots in almost three dozen poor nations including Haiti, Somalia, Burkina Faso and Cameroon.

Sugar and oilseeds have a disproportionate effect on the FAO’s food index because it’s based on trade values for commodities, Abbassian said. The price of staples including rice is lower than in 2008, he said. Rough rice last traded at $13.90 per 100 pounds in Chicago, compared with $20.21 at the end of June 2008.

“If you want to see the index as a barometer of food crisis, I’m not so sure this is the right thing to do,” Abbassian said. “In the previous episode, really the main driver in food commodities was cereals. This time around, look at sugar and oilseeds.”

Grain Inventories

Compared with 2007-2008, many poor countries had “good or above-average” cereal harvests last year, the economist said. Production problems took place in grain-exporting countries, and “supply at hand should be adequate,” he said.

The FAO’s gauge for sugar prices reached 398.4 points last month, increasing from 373.4 in November. The meat-price index rose to 142.2 points from 141.5.

The agency’s cereal-price index jumped to 237.6 points in December, the highest level since August 2008, from 223.3 the previous month. The indicator for cooking oils advanced to 263 points, the highest since July 2008, from 243.3. The index for dairy prices rose to 208.4 points from 207.8.

Global grain output will have to rise at least 2 percent this year to meet demand in 2011-2012 and avoid further depletion of stocks, the UN agency has said.

The basis for the FAO index is 2002-04. The gauge includes commodity quotations that the agency considers representative for international food prices.

“The real uncertainty and problem is the 2011-2012 market,” Abbassian said. “We are at a very high level. If it’s further up than this, then you really begin to be concerned.”