France's parliament has approved a bill that calls for a gradual reduction in the use of nitrite in cured meats. The country has ordered a review of the potential health risks of nitrite by the end of June 2022. Nitrite salts are used in cured meats like ham, bacon, and sausages. They extend the shelf life of processed meats and give ham its pink color.
In 2015, the World Health Organization classified processed meat as carcinogenic because curing (adding nitrites or nitrates or by smoking) can form potentially cancer-causing chemicals.
The new bill has set a timetable for reducing the use of nitrites. Anses, a French national health agency, will publish a report about the health risks of nitrite by the end of June 2022. France's government will then have 12 months to reduce or phase out nitrites.
The new law's implementation would fall to a new government, since France's presidential election will be held in April 2023.