The World Health Organization just officially declared that bacon, hot dogs, and other preserved meats cause cancer. 22 international experts reviewed over 800 studies to produce the new report, which classifies processed meats alongside other known carcinogens such as cigarettes, alcohol, asbestos and arsenic. The report is expected to receive vigorous backlash from the United States beef industry, which brings in $95 billion each year.
Processed meats are now classified as group 1 carcinogens, while red meat is classified in group 2A – reserved for probable carcinogens. The WHO panel evaluated a myriad of statistics and research before coming to a majority decision that links processed meats to cancer. The panel researched and compared data from the past 30 years – including animal experiments, human diet and health, and studies exploring cell mechanisms from red meat in relation to cancer.
The panel found an association between red meat consumption and colorectal cancer, concluding that there is evidence for a link between the two – but it does not go so far as to say that all red meat causes cancer.
In both cases, the epidemiological evidence, or patterns, causes and effects on health, was strong enough for the WHO panel to stake this claim. The U.S. Beef industry is expected to react harshly and contest this new classification, which was just announced today.
Via Washington Post