Processed meats – such as bacon, sausages and ham – do cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Its report said 50g of processed meat a day – less than two slices of bacon – increased the chance of developing colorectal cancer by 18%.
Meanwhile, it said red meats were « probably carcinogenic » but there was limited evidence.
But the WHO said meat did also have health benefits.
Processed meat is meat that has been modified to increase its shelf-life or alter its taste – such as by smoking, curing or adding salt or preservatives.
It is these additions which could be increasing the risk of cancer.
« For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed, » Dr Kurt Straif from the WHO said.