Did SC ST people eat beef

WHO study - meat on the plate: from status symbol to health risk

Meat on the plate: from status symbol to health risk

Meat used to be considered the “superfood”. Today the renunciation of it is propagated.

As a little boy, Peter Speck already knew what he wanted to become later: a butcher. Just like his father and grandfather. Today, in the third generation, he and his twin sister Christine run the family business, the butchery Speck in Aarau's old town. The shop is still the same, the display has changed a lot. “In my grandfather's time, the range was simpler and smaller. Who, for example, barbecued in summer? That was hardly known in Switzerland, and when you do, you put a steak on the grill, ”says Speck.

Speck is not only observing changes among private consumers, but also among catering establishments. He remembers well how his grandfather delivered large pieces of meat, including legs and bones, to restaurants: “Today, small-cut and partially processed meat products are in demand. Grandmother's kitchen no longer masters everyone, here we step in and prepare a roast, for example. " The butcher who takes over the chef's duties and a range of products that caters to all wishes - with the vegetable skewers even those of the vegetarians: Meat consumption in Switzerland has changed within three generations.

Belief in proteins

This is also shown by a look at the statistics from Proviande, the branch organization of the Swiss meat industry. In 1949 the Swiss ate around 28 kilograms of meat per person per year, today it is 52 kilograms. Meat consumption peaked in the late 1980s. At that time, Mr and Mrs Swiss ate an average of 60 kilograms of meat per year. Food scandals, but also changed eating habits, caused the numbers to fall and promoted the trend away from pork to poultry and lamb.

If various movements promote a low-meat or meat-free diet today, this was unthinkable 200 years ago. Regular meat consumption showed the prosperity. What cars or jewels mean today were sausages and roasts in the past: status symbols. The belief in their effect was unbroken. As the historian Jakob Tanner writes in the book “Eating and drinking between nutrition, cult and culture” (vdf Hochschulverlag), meat was valid right up to the beginning
of the 20th century in the industrialized countries as the «superfood». Nutritionists saw it as "the most invigorating food". It was not until the discovery of vitamins in 1911 that the belief in protein slowly diminished.

Names hide origins

Meat consumption also had a major impact on agriculture and manufacturing operations. If the animals were part of a farm for a long time, more and more farmers specialized in livestock farming. The first slaughterhouses were built in the cities. The processing of meat became part of industrialization. This also led to a changed perception among consumers - most of them eat meat without thinking about slaughtering. As Jakob Tanner writes, “beautiful names” such as Wiener Schnitzel and “appetizing breadcrumbs” are displacing their actual origins.

The historian sees this objectification as a blatant counterpart to the humanization of pets: Cervelats stand opposite the four-legged sausages at the dog coiffeur.

Risk: colon cancer

The meat industry has recently been a billionaire business and is part of the global economic system. So it is not surprising that numerous researchers bend over meat fibers under the microscope. New results came out this week: The World Health Organization (WHO) published a study that classifies the consumption of processed meat products as carcinogenic. Sausage and ham increase the risk of developing colon cancer. Red meat is also "probably" carcinogenic, said the WHO international cancer research agency (Iarc). "Every serving of processed meat of 50 grams per day increases the risk of colon cancer by 18 percent," writes the Iarc in its study. The WHO is therefore classifying processed meat products in the same category of carcinogenic substances as tobacco smoke or asbestos. The scientists emphasize, however, that the risks should not be set immediately.

Does that mean a change in Swiss meat consumption? Marcel Portmann from Proviande, the branch organization of the Swiss meat industry, waves it away: “The connection between meat and cancer has been discussed again and again for years. There are indications, but hardly any clarifications. " For him, it is crucial that the initial situation is taken into account depending on the country. “In Switzerland, only 15 percent of the population eat meat every day - not just sausages, but also chicken or beef. In addition, Switzerland ranks second behind in Europe in terms of per capita consumption. Only in Latvia is less meat eaten than here, ”says Portmann. He refers to the USA: “People there, at 100 kilograms per person per year, eat almost twice as much as in Switzerland. These are worlds. "

Information is required

Metzger Speck is also not surprised by the study. He was familiar with previous investigations. He does not fear loss of profit. “These numbers are not new. They show that it takes a high consumption of meat for it to have a negative impact on health. I can live with that, ”says Speck. And the Aarau butcher has recently got used to the fact that he has to answer many more questions than his grandfather did 60 years ago. He also sees an opportunity in this: "We can provide information about every product because we process the meat from the animals from the region ourselves." In the times of his grandfather this was a matter of course, in the time of the wholesalers and the international meat trade by far not anymore.

Read the interview on the article here.