• France's news in English

'I survived the war, I'm not giving up saucisson'

The Local · 27 Oct 2015, 14:35

Published: 27 Oct 2015 14:35 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

France is world renowned for its cuisine, much of which - as lovers of French gastronomie will know - contains red meat.

And products like saucisson, rillettes, jambon sec, and various other types of charcuterie are the mainstays of the sacred aperitif.

The problem is that the World Health Association has declared war on processed meats by putting them in the same category as smoking and alcohol for their risk in causing cancer.

As you can imagine the news has not gone down well in France, not least among the country’s meat-eating hordes who are understandably reluctant to give up their hearty habit.

Maxime, a 21-year-old student in Paris, seems to think that what the WHO is saying is absolutely nonsense.

“What are they going to say next? That water can also give you cancer?” he told The Local.

Lena, a 36-year-old woman from Paris, was also unwilling to say ‘non’ to saucisson.

"If it gives you cancer then so be it. I could never live without it,” she said.

An 83-year-old Frenchman told The Local that he had survived far worse than an overdose of charcuterie so he wasn’t going to stop eating meat just because the health boffins at the WHO say so.

“I survived World War Two and that didn’t kill me, so to hell with what they say,” said the veteran who asked not to be named.

Another French woman looked positively disgusted at the thought of never buying a saucisson again.

“Today it’s red meat and tomorrow it’ll be something else. If I listen to what they say I’ll end up starving myself to death,” the mother-of-three told The Local.

According to the figures the average Frenchman eats about 86.7kg a year of red meat which is 2.5 kg more than what meat lovers in the UK consume.

Regarded as the prince of all sausages, the French saucisson sec is arguably a patriotic symbol of France - and French people tend to be patriotic, so it's no surprise how much they get through each year.

Apparently 2.2 kilos of saucisson are munched each second in France, which adds up to a total of 70,000 tonnes a year.

Critics of the WHO insist there are benefits to eating red meat, mainly that it introduces protein, iron zinc and vitamin B into your diet.   

Those in the French meat industry have also been defending their produce and stressed there was no need to give up saucisson, sausages or the likes of andouilette (pig's intestines) if eaten in moderation.

A butcher in the 19th arrondissement told The Local he was confident sales of red meat and charcuterie would remain buoyant despite the health warnings.

“This report doesn't worry me at all. I haven't seen a decline in customers coming in," the meat seller said.

Story continues below…

And if his customers are like him, then he should be fine.

"I'll stop drinking alcohol and smoking if needs be, but I could never give up meat as it's essential to my diet," he said.

The FNSEA, the leading farmers' union, reveals that even if "the excessive consumption of meat is certainly not to be promoted", it is still possible to "indulge and have a nutritional diet" when eating both meat and vegetables.

“Living in the 21st century is carcinogenic. It’s the excess that makes everything go awry. People need to know how to control good things and consume in a sensible manner," butcher Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec told France TV Info.

Even if the local butchers are still sharpening their knives in frustration, the general French public seem to be taking no notice of what the WHO is telling them. 

By Adam Jones

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available