Sue's Blog

Ham limited in schools in Western Australia


The WA Department of Health has changed how it classifies school food and drink, leading to ham being largely removed.

Their focus was on the high salt content because of high blood pressure and increased the risk of heart disease and strokes but also said “some processed hams may contain additives, preservatives and flavour-enhancers we should limit”. The additives detailed were phosphorus-containing which might pose a risk for chronic kidney disease. They also mentioned saturated fat as a risk and the smoking process which increases chemicals linked to cancer.

Strange there is no mention of the high level of nitrates which caused USA and UK to try to phase them out, because for nitrates the scientific evidence base for reducing use is very strong. That alone should see added nitrates, nitrites and nitrosamines removed from our food supply, as we have been urging for over 30 years.

And be careful, nitrates are being increasingly hidden by “clean label” practices.

Food intolerance Network members report a range of symptoms from headache and stuttering to eczema, mania and depression.

“I introduced nitrates (ham). My 6 year old son went pretty nutty after eating it, not violent, just manic. The next day he had bad eczema and was unable to read or write properly when I asked. The teacher also mentioned that he was having trouble concentrating again. He was also crying and clinging to me when it was time to drop him at school. The effects lasted about 5 days” – from story [855]

We will see if the WA government can make the ham-ban stick against food manufacturer pressure. News outlets and parents are already frothing at the mouth. “A shake-up of school canteen menus has been slammed as outrageous and an overstep". Watch this space....

More information

The end of nitrate/nitrite preservatives?

Nitrates not on the label in Australia and NZ: another hidden additive

Nitrate, nitrite and nitrosamine factsheet

And by the way, nitrates/nitrites do not protect against botulism, the main excuse manufacturers use for these food additives

And how nitrates and nitrites in processed meats are harmful – but those in vegetables aren’t