PETALING JAYA: Malaysians should avoid eating meat for the benefit of their health and the environment.
The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) president S.M. Mohamed Idris said the latest study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer found “sufficient evidence” that the consumption of meat, especially processed meat, causes colorectal cancer.
CAP said meat consumption throughout the world had increased and Malaysia was no exception.
“Our per capita consumption of meat has increased from 13.2kg in 1961 to 52.35kg in 2009.
“With rising income, it is projected that Malaysian consumers will eat even more meat in the future. Eating more meat enhances our chances of getting sick or dying early.
“Health statistics consistently show that nations which consume the most meat have the highest incidence of heart disease and cancer,” said Mohamed Idris in a statement issued in conjunction with International Meatless Day yesterday.
He said studies have also indicated that those who consume animal products are 40% more susceptible to cancer and other illnesses such as stroke, obesity appendicitis, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes and food poisoning.
“Besides the heath effects of eating meat, many consumers do not see the magnitude of the environmental impact caused by their meat consumption.
“There may be no other single human activity that has a bigger impact than livestock farming,” he added.
Mohamed Idris said livestock are usually given the same antibiotics as humans, which may cause bacteria to develop resistance.
He said Malaysian meats were tainted with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
“Some studies have indicated that more than 50% of domestic chicken have the bacteria.
“Imported chicken had the worst results, as over 87% of them had ampicillin-resistant bacteria.
“Shockingly, while other countries have banned the use of antibiotics in animal feeds, Malaysia is thinking of changing our Food Act to allow 147 residues in our meats, most of which are antibiotics,” he said.
Mohamed Idris added that CAP opposed this change to the Act and had also sent a memorandum to the Government to ban antibiotics in animal feeds.