Italy thwarts cancer fears with giant ham sandwich

Rome, Oct 30 (IANS) Angry Italian farmers made a gigantic sandwich stuffed with cured ham and sausages in a bid to stop concerns over the alleged link between processed meat and cancer, a media report said on Friday.

The sandwich, which contained 100kg of meat, was the farmers response to a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO), published on Monday, which said processed meat could lead to cancer, The Local news reported.

Once completed by the Italian farmers’ association, Coldiretti in Milan on Thursday morning, the hefty sandwich was a carnivore’s dream, measuring over three metres long and weighing 150 kg.

It was made using only the finest Italian ingredients, including a massive crusty cob of Altamura bread which was then filled with slices of artisanal ham, salami and sausage.

While the supersize snack may not be the biggest ever sandwich – a record which is held by a group in Lebanon who made an impressive 756 metre sandwich – it is thought to be the largest sandwich ever made using only ingredients which carry European Union (eu) quality assurance labels.

“We support genuine Italian products and believe them to be the most healthy,” a spokesperson for Coldiretti said.

“In Italy we have lower rates of cancer and meat consumption than the countries considered by the WHO report. It’s important consumers don’t just assume all processed meat is bad – it’s part of the Mediterranean diet which we know to be healthy.”

Since the report came out, many organisations have expressed their concerns that links between processed meat and cancer could prove devastating for the Italian meat industry.

Italy is home to 40 different types of cured meat that carry prestigious EU quality assurance labels. The pork industry alone is worth 20 billion euros (about $22 billion) a year and employs 105,000 people.

After being put together, the sandwich was donated to help feed the needy.

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