What is classed as red meat and how much should you have per week amid cancer scare?

Red meat consumption has been linked to a higher risk of bowel cancer (Picture: Getty Images)

New concerns have been raised over red meat consumption after even small amounts were linked to an increased risk of bowel cancer.

According to a study part-funded by Cancer Research UK, even people who stick to NHS guideline for red and processed meat consumption – 70g a day – are increasing their risk of bowel cancer by 20 per cent compared with those who limit their consumption even further.

However it doesnt end there – with those who ate red meat only and avoided processed meat (giving them a total of 54g a day), having a 15 per cent higher risk of bowel cancer than those who ate around 8g a day.

And those who ate processed meat only – an average of 29g a day – increased their chances of contracting the disease by 19 per cent compared to those who ate only 5g a day.



All of which suggests only one rasher of bacon a day could prove problematic.

So just what qualifies as red meat and how much can you safely eat?

What is classed as red meat?

Red meat is defined as anything which is red when it is raw and, and which remains a dark colour after it is cooked.

According to NHS UK that includes the following:

  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Mutton
  • Pork
  • Veal
  • Venison
  • Goat

Poultry such as chicken, turkey, duck and goose are classed as white meat, as are game birds and rabbit.

Bacon frying in a pan
Bacon is also being seen as a risk (Picture: Getty Images)

Processed meat refers to meat which has been preserved, by smoking, curing or adding salt or other preservatives.

This category includes meats such as sausages, bacon, ham, salami, luncheon meat (including that made from chicken and turkey) and other products such as canned meat and meat pate.

How much red meat should you have per week?

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