Last week, several news outlets reported on a World Health Organization study that linked processed meats such as bacon and hotdogs to cancer.
The study determined that eating more than 50 grams of processed meats a day – equivalent to roughly two strips of bacon or ham – contributed to an 18 percent increase in the risk of getting cancer. Industry groups were quick to denounce the findings, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which argued science does not support the findings.
Additionally, Forbes reported on Oct. 29, 2015 that the World Health Organization’s report is unlikely to hurt the meat industry in the long run.
It’s too early to tell in terms of numbers what impact the report is having, but from a handful of anecdotes and opinions that I solicited, it seems as if your company sells a lot of meat, you can continue with your business plan. No need to start thinking about starting a business specializing in kumquats or celery.
Personal Trainer Food, a national weight loss and fit meal home delivery company based near Dallas, features a menu laden with bacon, Angus beef hamburger patties and sausages.
“Considering we ship out about 30,000 pounds of food a day, we braced ourselves … for an onslaught of calls from customers with questions and concerns. We received zero,” says Shane Allen, a spokesperson for the company. “No customer we’ve spoken to in the past 48 hours has even batted an eye at the WHO’s ridiculous announcement. Furthermore, internal data shows our sales have remained steady.”
Previous news reports that further detailed the World Health Organization report include the NPR article “Bad Day For Bacon: Processed Meats Cause Cancer, WHO Says,” published on Oct. 26, 2015.
A group of 22 scientists reviewed the evidence linking red meat and processed meat consumption to cancer, and concluded that eating processed meats regularly increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Their evidence review is explained in an article published in The Lancet.
The conclusion puts processed meats in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking and asbestos. This does not mean that they are equally dangerous, says the International Agency for Research on Cancer — the agency within the WHO that sets the classifications. And it's important to note that even things such as aloe vera are on the list of possible carcinogens.
For more information on the World Health Organization report, visit its frequently asked questions page, here.