German minister: Don't fear, eat bratwurst

  • 28/10/2015
Grilled Bratwurst sausages (Reuters)
Grilled Bratwurst sausages (Reuters)

Germany's food and agriculture minister says people should not be afraid of tucking into a grilled bratwurst despite the World Health Organization's warning that sausages and ham cause cancer.

"No one should be afraid when eating a bratwurst," Christian Schmidt said.

"As with everything, what counts is the quantity: too much of something is always bad for health," he said in a statement.

"We worry people unnecessarily if we put meat in the same category as asbestos or tobacco," he added.

Based on a review of 800 studies from around the world, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said it found "sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer".

For unprocessed red meat - beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse or goat, the review found "strong" evidence of a link, but not convincing enough to place it in the group of confirmed cancer-causing agents, which includes tobacco smoke, asbestos, and now also salami.

Although sausages and salami figure regularly in German meals, meat consumption in the country has actually fallen in recent years. Each inhabitant ate 60.3 kilograms of meat in 2013, down from 61.3kg in 2010.

Germany is a key meat producing nation, generating 8.8 million tonnes in 2013, including more than 5.0 million tonnes of pork and 1.4 million tonnes of poultry.