A spokesman from the Pro Viande industry association questioned some of the conclusions of the report while emphasizing that Swiss residents hardly eat any meat compared to those in many other countries.
The report from WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded after considering 800 studies that the risk of developing colorectal cancer rises among people who eat a lot of processed red meat on a regular basis.
But residents of Switzerland, despite their love of the cervelas sausage and summer barbecues, eat less meat than those of any other European country but Latvia, Marcel Portmann, Pro Viande representative, told Tages Anzeiger newspaper.
“Furthermore, we know from research that just 15 percent of the Swiss population eats meat daily,” Portmann told the Zurich daily.
He also doubted that the meat consumed daily was always sausage.
“In total 85 percent do not eat meat every day,” Portmann said.
“It’s quite different in the United States — Americans consume twice as much meat as we do.”
The difference between the consumption rate in different countries was disregarded by the WHO report, Portmann said.
He also said that establishing a causal link between diet and disease without considering other factors such as activity rates of people led to results that were “too vague”.
Pro Viande “supports a balanced and healthy diet” which most Swiss have, he said.
The WHO recommends limiting the consumption of meat but Portmann said he doubted this would lead to Swiss giving up their cervelat, Olma-bratwurst and toasted ham and cheese sandwiches.
Swiss people also eat chocolate even though they know that eating too much is unhealthy, he said.
“It’s the same with the sausage — these traditions will remain.”
For more on the WHO report, check here.