Braai Lovers, Did you See What They’re Saying about Meat?

For a country that even has a movement promoting a National Braai Day – on Heritage Day – and a National Braai Day anthem, the latest news about meat from the World Health Organisation probably doesn’t sit very well.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a research division of the World Health Organization, said Monday that processed meats such as bacon, sausage, ham and hot dogs cause cancer. It also identified red meat as “probably carcinogenic”.

Source: Jan Braai Facebook page.
Source: Jan Braai Facebook page.

Processed meats were classified as a Group 1 carcinogen to humans, in the same group as smoking tobacco and asbestos exposure. Substances in this group have “sufficient evidence” of carcinogenicity in humans, according to the IARC.

Many people immediately came out on social media expressing their continued support of bacon, under hashtags #FreeBacon and #JeSuisBacon, which trended on Tuesday.


South African ‘Jan Braai’ (real name Jan Scannell) said in a news report this week he didn’t think the WHO findings would have much of an impact in South Africa. The average South African apparently consumes 60 kg of meat a year, which is higher than the global average (42 kg) but only half of countries like Australia and the United States.

Source: Jan Braai Facebook page.
Source: Jan Braai Facebook page.

Scannell is, according to braai.com, the man behind the National Braai Day initiative. The main picture on the site has him standing with the person he calls ‘the braai patron’, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

A lot of the recipes on braai.com, it has to be said, don’t even use red meat. There is of course Steak with Biltong Cream Sauce and Pork Neck Curry, but there’s also Coq au Vin cooked in a potpie and Bread Pudding made in a potpie.

The site also provides a comprehensive braai vocabulary, such as a bak (‘a dish, made from aluminum or stainless steel, used for storing the meat in before and after it is braid’), dinges (‘anything you can’t remember the word for: “Give me that dinges for the chops”‘), and kwagga (‘another word for you best friend’).

Watch the video of The National Braai Day anthem performed by Die Heuwels Fantasties, JR, HHP and the Soweto Gospel Choir.