According to the World Health Organization (WHO), processed meats, such as bacon, sausages and ham, may cause cancer.
(Also read our article: Food manufacturers need to beef up research and label cancer-causing meats)
Prof Hettie Schonfeldt, Associate of the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Well-being at the University of Pretoria said South Africans should not focus on meat alone, but rather concentrate on their total diet intake.
According to Schonfeldt, sugar is a bigger health concern for South Africans and a moderate diet is the only way to minimise risks.
Listen to the full conversation (with Mike Wills standing in) on The John Maytham Show:
Furthermore, Schonfeldt said meat categories in South Africa are different than of those highlighted in the report and would warrant additional research.
We have different issues and food cultures in developing countries. We know for sure that South Africans are eating much less meat than the studies were quoting on.— Prof Hettie Schonfeldt, Associate of the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Well-being
According to Schonfeldt, out of the panel of 22 scientist who contributed to the report, none were from developing countries, despite different food and eating cultures.
She said the report quoted studies suggesting that consumers eat 50 grams of processed meat a day, while in reality, South Africans only indulge in 12 grams.
She added that WHO has encouraged consumers to restrict their intake, rather than cut meat out completely.