The NHS has accused the tabloid press of exaggerating a potential link between eating bacon and the development of leukaemia.

The Sun, the Daily Express and The Mirror all carried headlines last weekend claiming that eating bacon was dangerous for children.

The source of the story was a research project carried out at the Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan and the Yuh-Ing Junior College of Health Care and Management, which concluded that eating cured and smoked meat or fish “may be associated with leukaemia risk”.

The NHS claims the study can only be regarded as preliminary evidence of a link between bacon consumption and leukaemia.

In a bid to calm fears among the public, the NHS Knowledge Service issued a statement this week. “This sort of stuff cannot prove that one thing causes another, and it has several limitations,” it said.