World Health Organization: Processed Meats Cause Cancer

ImageContent(562e1292e4b0aac0b8fd51bc,562e11bf1400002200c7ac8a,Image,HectorAssetUrl(562e11bf1400002200c7ac8a,Some(),Some(jpeg)),Dendron via Getty Images,)

By Gus Trompiz

PARIS, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Eating processed meat can lead to bowel cancer in humans while redmeat is a likely cause of the disease, World Health Organisation (WHO) experts said on Monday in findings that could sharpen debate over the merits of a meat-based diet.

The France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the WHO, put processed meat such as hot dogs and ham in its group 1 list, which already includes tobacco, asbestos and diesel fumes, for which there is “sufficient evidence” of cancer links.

“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” Dr Kurt Straif of the IARC said in a statement.

Red meat, under which the IARC includes beef, lamb and pork, was classified as a “probable” carcinogen in its group 2A list that also contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in many weedkillers.

The lower classification for red meat reflected “limited evidence” that it causes cancer. The IARC found links mainly with bowel cancer, as was the case for processed meat, but it also observed associations with pancreatic and prostate cancer.

The agency, whose findings on meat followed a meeting of health experts in France earlier this month, estimated each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

The IARC, which was assessing meat for the first time and reviewed some 800 studies, does not compare the level of cancer risk associated with products in a given category, so does not suggest eating meat is as dangerous as smoking, for example.

Health policy in some countries already calls for consumers to limit intake of red and processedmeat, but the IARC said such advice to consumers was —> Read More