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How is global meat trade related to global health

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A vendor hangs sausages stored in a wet market on November 12, 2021, in Xi an, China. Image Credit: China News Service / Getty Images
  • Eating red meat and processed meats, such as bacon, bacon and sausages, can increase the risk of bowel cancer.
  • These types of meat products are also associated with an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Researchers have now assessed the health impacts of growing international trade in red and processed meat.
  • They argue that international trade contributes to increasing the incidence of diet-related diseases by increasing the availability of these products.

Over the last 2 decades, the global trade in red and processed meat has more than doubled, from 10 million tonnes in 19931995 to 24.8 million tonnes in 20162018.

The authors of a new study, which appears in BMJ Global Health, emphasize that the production of red meat for export has environmental costs in terms of habitat loss and biodiversity and harms the health of consumers.

Scientists write that the rapid growth of the global trade in red and processed meat has complicated efforts to make human diets healthier and more sustainable.

This is because trade increases consumption in countries that do not produce much red and processed meat for their markets.

The researchers calculated the contribution of the international trade in these types of meat to the health burden of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

They estimate that over the past 2 decades, the international trade in red and processed meat has contributed to a 75% increase in the global burden of these diseases.

of World Health Organization (WHO) has classified processed meat as a certain cause of cancer and red meat as a possible cause.

Processed meat includes products such as sausages, bacon, sausage and bacon.

If you are eating a lot of meat most days, it is a good idea to think about cutting back, said Amanda Finch, health information manager at Cancer Research UK.

But the less you eat, the lower the risk, so reducing food is good for your health, no matter how much you eat, she said. Medical News Today.

Research has also linked the consumption of red and processed meat to the increased risks of heart dissases AND type 2 diabetes.

Scientists at the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, assessed the changes in health risks attributed to the global red and processed meat trade.

They calculated the daily consumption of these types of meat in 154 countries per capita, based on the quantities that each country produced, imported, exported and abused.

The data for red meat were mainly for beef, pork, lamb and goat.

Data on processed meat, mainly beef and pork, included canned products from smoking, salting, curing or artificial preservatives.

The scientists used information from The Global Burden of Disease project, which assesses the impact of specific risk factors for each country, to discover the health effects of meat consumption.

Specifically, they looked at deaths from colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes, and ischemic heart disease, as well as the number of Disabled regulated life years (DALYs) for these conditions.

They used a statistical tool called a comparative risk assessment framework to assess the contribution of imports of red and processed meat to these deaths and DALY in each country.

They report that the increase in consumption due to trade caused 10,898 deaths worldwide in 20162018. This was an increase of 74.6% from 19931995.

The global number of DALYs attributed to world meat trade increased by 89.9%, from 165,008 in 19931995 to 313,432 in 20162018.

During the same period, the largest meat exporters causing these health burdens changed from New Zealand, Australia and the United States, to Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands.

At the same time, the contributions of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay to the global trade in red and processed meat increased during this period from 0.5 million tonnes to 2.4 million tonnes.

This represents an increase from 4.9% to 9.7% of total global meat exports.

The global meat trade has had a particularly large health impact on island nations and relatively small countries that import a lot of red and processed meat, including the Bahamas, Tonga, Antigua and Barbuda, the Seychelles and Singapore.

Although more than 65% of deaths and disabilities caused by trade occurred in high-income countries, the increase in health burden during this period was greatest in low-income countries.

The authors explain that this was due to the support of high-income countries from imports to meet the increased demand for meat due to rapid urbanization and revenue growth.

They conclude:

[C]Coordinated efforts between exporters and importers are essential to regulate agricultural priorities by producing large quantities of red and processed red meat for export to plant-based healthy foods.

[A]Although many dietary guidelines have been suggested for both human health and environmental sustainability across the globe, few international initiatives and national guidelines for sustainable diets explicitly address the pervasive impacts of the meat trade across countries, said the study’s lead author. . Min Gon Chung, Ph.D..

Thus, the introduction of cross-cutting policies (health, production and trade) towards less dependence on imports of red and processed meat is urgently needed to reduce diet. [noncommunicable disease] incidence and mortality in these vulnerable places, he said MNT.

The authors note some limitations of their analysis.

For example, the study included only 20 main red and processed meat products. Researchers say other items may pose additional health risks.

Their analysis also did not take into account countries that import red meat to process and re-export it.

As a result, the study probably overestimated the health burden of the global meat trade in industrialized countries such as the Netherlands and Singapore, which re-export a lot of meat.

Sources

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2/ https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/the-health-impact-of-the-global-meat-trade

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