It’s official – red meat can give you cancer
BACON, burgers and sausages are as big a cancer threat as cigarettes, global health chiefs are to rule.
The World Health Organisation is to list processed meat among the most cancer-causing substances, alongside arsenic and asbestos.
Fresh red meat is also due to join the “encyclopaedia of carcinogens” and is likely to be ranked as only slightly less dangerous than the preserved products.
The rulings, revealed by a wellplaced source, will send shock waves through the farming industry and the fast food sector.
They could also lead to new dietary guidelines and warning labels on packs of bacon.
The classifications, by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, come amid mounting concern that meat fuels the disease.
Links to bowel cancer are particularly strong, with estimations that half of cases could be prevented by healthier lifestyles.
TheWHO is expected to say processed meat causes cancer.
The decision, due today , follows a meeting of scientists from 10 nations who reviewed all available evidence. They are believed to have agreed processed meat is carcinogenic to humans’, the highest of five possible rankings, shared with alcohol, asbestos, arsenic and cigarettes.
Processed meat is made by smoking, curing, salting, or adding chemicals. Examples are ham, bacon, pastrami and salami, as well as hot dogs and some sausages. Burgers are also expected to be included.
Red meat is expected to be one rung below, probably carcinogenic to humans. Meat contains high concentrations of fat and it is thought the compound that gives meat its red colour may damage the bowel lining.
Processed meat has previously been blamed for one in 30 deaths and is seen as dangerous because preserving techniques can raise levels of cancer-causing chemicals.
Any advice to cut, or avoid processed meat will be welcomed by cancer charities. But it could have huge repercussions for the meat industry, which will be mindful that sugar sales fell last year after the WHO issued a warning on overconsumption.
Betsy Booren, of the North American Meat Institute, said recently: “If they determine red and processed meat cause cancer – and I think they will – that moniker will stick.”
The industry says red meat is rich in protein, a good source of vitamins, iron and zinc, and an key part of a balanced diet.
The World Cancer Research Fund recommends avoiding processed meat altogether. — Daily Mail