Cancer Council’s call to ditch ham sandwiches sparks outrage

May 08, 2022
Leaflets distributed to public schools called on parents to "ditch the ham sandwich”. Source: Getty Images.

The traditional ham sandwich has come under increased scrutiny after the Cancer Council proposed ditching the lunchtime staple suggesting it can increase the risk of developing cancer.

A series of leaflets distributed to public schools called on parents to “ditch the ham sandwich” and avoid giving their children processed meats and instead provide kids with healthier lunch options or opt for a “meat free Monday” to improve their children’s nutrition.

A Cancer Council spokesperson told 10 News that “there is strong evidence that eating processed meats and too much red meat is associated with increased risk of bowel cancer”.

“Our cancer prevention messages advise everyone to limit their processed meat consumption and cut down on red meat,” the spokesperson said.

The Cancer Council also found that “consuming a 50g portion of processed meat consumed daily (that’s two slices of bacon) increased the risk of bowel cancer by 18%. The average Australian risk for developing bowel cancer by the age of 85 is 8.2%” according to a statement on their website.

Even though the campaign to “ditch” the ham sandwich was only a suggestion, it was met with swift backlash with parents and public figures alike left outraged by the advice.

Today host Karl Stefanovic slammed the campaign, calling it “un-Australian” and claiming he wouldn’t know what to do “without having a ham and cheese sandwich after a hangover on a Saturday morning”.

“I think this is just ridiculous,’ Stefanovic said.

“I don’t know where they get off doing this.

“What is happening to this country?”

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet also rallied behind the ham sandwich when he told reporters on Tuesday, May 3 that “we all love ham, and pork and bacon, and I think it’s great for kids”.

“Didn’t Homer Simpson call the pig the amazing, wonderful animal? And we all love pig,” he said.

“I know with my kids, I start the week with ham and it kind of deteriorates over the course of the week, but the Cancer Council does a great job, but maybe they could sit this one out.”

A spokeswoman for the NSW Department of Education told The Daily Telegraph that parents and pupils can rest assured that the lunchtime snack will not be disappearing from schoolyards anytime soon.

“For many students, no lunch box is complete without a ham sandwich. No public school has banned these,” she said.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

Share via emailShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

Leave your comment

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up