World Health Organization (WHO) Says Processed Meat, Red Meat Carcinogenic

World Health Organization (WHO) Says Processed Meat, Red Meat Carcinogenic
Hot Dog with Onions Kate Hopkins/ Flickr CC license

The World Health Organization has just made a big decision when it comes to red meat and processed meat. In fact, the cancer agency of the organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has just found that there is “sufficient evidence” to rule that meat can be carcinogenic, most notably when its processed.


According to the IARC, this finding is backed up by a lot of scientific literature, prepared by a Working Group made up of 22 experts from 10 countries. Together, these experts have ruled that processed meat is “carcinogenic to humans” as they have found enough evidence that consumption of this kind meat can actually cause colorectal cancer. Processed meat is defined as meat that has been salted, cured, fermented, smoked or had undergone other methods to enhance its flavor or presentation. This may include hot dogs, beef jerku, ham, sausages, and corned beef.

Meanwhile, the intake of red meat (beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse or goat) has been classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” This finding is said to be based on “limited evidence” that consuming red meat can cause cancer, primarily colorectal cancer. However, it is also possible that consumption of red meat can cause pancreatic cancer and prostrate cancer. Moreover, these experts have also seen that “strong mechanistic evidence” that supports red meat’s carcinogenic effect.

In coming up with this conclusion, the IARC Working Group actually went over more than 800 studies, which studied the close link between consumption of processed meat and red meat with more than a dozen types of cancer. The article was published by The Lancet Oncology.

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