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What do we mean by 'processed meat'?

7 March 2013 Last updated at 09:48 GMT

A new study has highlighted the dangers of eating too much processed meat.

At the moment the official recommendation is no more than 70g of processed meat a day, which amounts to two slices of bacon.

But an EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) study suggests it should be down to 20 grams - equivalent to a small piece of bacon.

The UK food industry has been adept at not wasting meat, and using all of it in processed food - a cheap and efficient way of getting protein and calories.

Ursula Arens from the British Dietetic Association explained to the Today programme: "Processed meat is not fresh meat, in other words something has been done to it to extend its shelf life or change its taste.

"Examples are ham, bacon, salami, chorizo, sausages, pepperoni. It's not steak or minced meat.

"Getting fresh meat and putting it through a mincer does not mean processed meat."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday 7 March 2013.