Quality imported pork is vital to meeting the demand of the New Zealand processed meat market, which local growers cannot meet.
Programme teasers for tonight's episode of "What's Really in our Food" insinuating imported product contains hormones or antibiotics which are unsafe, are entirely unfounded.
Pork is imported from Canada, Europe, USA and Australia*. All of these countries either have a ban on the use of hormones and antibiotics, or they are only permitted under strict regulations which ensure no residues remain in the meat.
These standards are all in line with similar measures undertaken in New Zealand.
"Consumers can rest assured all pork, whether local or imported, is entirely safe," says New Zealand Meat Processors Association General Manager, Fiona Greig.
"Our membership represents 85% of the processed pork market and members would not risk their reputations on a product if they weren't 100% confident in its quality and safety," says Greig.
The episode of "What's Really in our Food" is also set to suggest a link between stomach cancer and bacon. The evidence supporting a link between processed meat and stomach cancer is inconsistent and limited, as outlined in the World Cancer Research Fund report (2007).
New Zealanders eat processed meats in amounts well within national and international guidelines. Products such as ham and bacon provide a convenient source of protein, iron and zinc and can be eaten as part of a balanced diet containing plenty of fruit and vegetables. Lifestyle and eating patterns are far more important than any one single food.
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