The claim by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that eating certain processed meats and sausages could cause cancer is being challenged by a Northern Ireland businessman.
He is ready to sue the UN-affiliated agency for damages after a recent WHO report that put processed pork products in the same cancer risk category as asbestos and tobacco saw his business revenue drop 20 per cent.
Denis Lynn of Lynn’s Country Foods believes the WHO guidance should only refer to European-style processing and should differentiate the continental meats from British goods as they don’t contain the same dangerous chemicals as other meats in Europe.
Mr. Lynn has written to the UN demanding a retraction and is threatening them with court action.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr. Lynn said: “I think the problem is, the World Health Organisation were asked the question ‘what do you consider as processed meats?’ and they said that processed meat refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking or other processes.
“Those other processes are using nitrates or nitrates… they’re referring specifically to European-style sausage.
“The British-style sausage… should not be classified in that way. We need clarification – they need to explain exactly what they’re saying here.
“There’s been a 20 per cent drop in sales since 26 October in fresh sausage.”
British sausage-makers use a preservative ingredient, sodium metabisulphite, which is deemed safe to eat.
But European factories often use nitrate-based preservatives, which convert into dangerous chemicals called Nitrosamines.
Mr Lynn’s legal bid has won the backing of former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.