AUSVEG CEO Richard Mulcahy today welcomed new research which showed that adding a tasty potato salad to the traditional Aussie barbeque would cut the cancer risk linked to eating red meat.

Scientists from Adelaide’s Flinders University found that the starch contained in cold, cooked potatoes would reduce the cancer risk associated with eating red meat, with increasing evidence available that a diet high in red meat can increase a person’s risk of colorectal cancers.

“The health benefits of potatoes have always been well known, but it is pleasing to see this new research which confirms what the Australian potato industry has been saying for a number of years now regarding the role that potatoes can play in preventative health,” Mr Mulcahy said.

As the peak industry body AUSVEG represents the interests of over 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.

Jean Winter, a PhD student who worked on the project, told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that the reduction in risk from the potato salad was significant, with the resistant starch also present in beans, green bananas and rice.

The starch assists in minimising the cancer risk by resisting digestion until it reaches the colon where it is eaten by bacteria, by a process that releases favourable molecules, the AAP reports.

Tests were conducted on mice which were fed a diet of red meat or red meat plus resistant starch and then tested for any indications of the DNA damage that is a forerunner to cancer.

“Australian potato growers produce some of the finest quality, most environmentally friendly potatoes in the world, and if you add in possible health benefits like protection against cancer, it is hard to argue against potatoes as a critical food product that consumers should be purchasing more,” Mr Mulcahy said.

“This new research is welcome news for the Australian potato industry, where growers are currently suffering from a range of tough challenges including pressure from growing imports and rising input costs.”

“Scientists found that if you cool the potato down again after cooking, there is actually more of this beneficial starch in there.”

“The merits of eating more vegetable and potato products as a matter of preventative health are impossible to contest.”

“On top of the new research we already know that potatoes are high in fibre, cholesterol free and are 99.9% fat free. Eating potatoes can assist in controlling blood pressure and maintaining a healthy body weight and lifestyle,” Mr Mulcahy said.

Hugh Tobin, Communications Manager, AUSVEG
Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0431 939 920, Email: