Should I keep my child away from bacon?

Since the announcement of processed meats causing cancer, the debate has been all over the internet, here's what smartparents.sg has gathered.

Kids-Processed-food

Does your son like bacon sandwiches? Are lup cheong and Bak Kwa also dangerous then?

The World Health Organization (WHO) agency said on Monday, 26 Oct 2015, that processed meats such as ham, sausages and bacon have been place alongside tobacco and alcohol as a major cancer hazard. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reviewed over 800 studies before concluding that each portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent. Colorectal cancer, also known as colon or bowel cancer, affects the colon and the rectum.

Smartparents spoke with celebrity food blogger, Dr Leslie Tay of ieatishootipost.sg, and he noted that "this is just one of many factors that can increase the risk of developing cancer.” He advises us on what we can do instead, “Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, smaller amounts of meat and even smaller amounts of processed meat.”

Inculcating your child’s healthy eating habits is pivotal to most parents, however, red meats and processed meats are nearly impossible to avoid in this day. Your young tot needs the protein meat provides for ample growth, be sure to choose fresh meats instead of processed ones.

Not forgetting local favourites like lup cheong (Chinese sausage consisting of pork liver) and bah kwa (dried beef, pork, mutton, marinated with spices and soy sauce), which also under the category of heavily processed meats. According to the IARC, it is the chemicals involved in processing or cooking the meat that are known or suspected carcinogens.

In CNA’s article, it has been reported that the Health Promotion Board of Singapore has recommended no more than two servings of processed meat a week, with each serving equivalent to a hot dog.

Here’s what some Smartparents mothers have to say:

  • The WHO advisory doesn’t bother Tammy Seah, 32, mother of a 5-year-old boy and a 1-year-old daughter. She shrugged and said: “We usually do not give processed meat to our children. Even before the WHO advisory, we knew that eating too much processed food is not good for their growing bodies.”


  • Caroline Francis, 44, a homemaker and mother of 6- and 4-year-old boys, says that their family uses ham, bacon and luncheon meat. “We use it chopped up in pasta sauces, maybe twice a week? Not on a really regular basis. And we'll still use it.”


  • Allyson Klass, 41, who has a 5-year-old girl and a 2-year-old son, has been following the saga on Facebook: “I can’t ignore this bacon thing because it’s plastered all over my FB feed. We've all known processed meat and food products aren’t healthy, so why is everyone reacting as if it's a brand-new revelation?! So yes, I’ll still allow my kids to eat it. Moderation is key and if having bacon on the weekend means happy kids, I won’t stop. I don’t think half a strip or less will hurt and I want them to experience the joys of eating various foods. Anyway, there are pesticides in vegetables, too, so very soon we’ll all be told that we’re better off eating dust.”