WHO says cancer report not a call for people to give up meat



The World Health Organization stressed Thursday that an explosive report this week linking the consumption of processed meat to cancer was not calling for people to stop eating meat altogether.

The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) caused shockwaves Monday when it released a report analysing 800 studies from around the world, concluding that processed meats such as sausages, ham, and hot dogs cause bowel cancer, and red meat “probably” does too.

Meat producers slammed the report, with Australia’s agriculture minister calling it “a farce”, and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) saying IARC “tortured the data to ensure a specific outcome”.

The United Nations agency cited research attributing about 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide to diets high in processed meat.

The agency acknowledged this was dwarfed by the estimated one million cancer deaths attributed to tobacco smoking, 600,000 to alcohol use, and more than 200,000 to air pollution every year.

It warned its data did “not permit” the determination of a safe meat quota.

The WHO however stressed Thursday that IARC’s review merely confirmed the UN health agency’s 2002 diet and nutrition recommendations, urging people “to moderate consumption of preserved meat to reduce the risk of cancer.”

“The latest IARC review does not ask people to stop eating processed meats, but indicates that reducing consumption of these products can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer,” WHO said in a statement.

It pointed out that it has a standing group of experts who regularly evaluate the links between diet and disease.

“Early next year they will meet to begin looking at the public-health implications of the latest science and the place of processed meat and red meat within the context of an overall healthy diet,” WHO said.



Agence France-Presse is a global news agency delivering fast, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from wars and conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology.

  • Pratt

    G7 can hold together very well and go places if they dont allow themselves to be blown off by enemy propaganda. They should avoid consuming what merchants of deceit, with their cronies in the media, have prescribed them. There is no way political enemies can allow them to get anywhere if they are prone to twisted deceit.  They can surely be better off if they take the grouping as a step to bright future. They should also have plan B for any unforeseen eventuality. They should also avoid pretending that with ICC cases hovering overhead, is still business as usual. They are facing more serious challenges than they would want us to believe. They should surely have the temerity to face the hard reality. Imagining false confidence inspired by noise makers and empty bravado could change things is height of absurdity. Infact, those prayers should be used to find out how so many minds can help win the ICC cases. Trumpeting on the impossible and allowing cronies to imagine Canaan is just at hand is totally misleading and unhelpful. I hold the view that those attending these rallies, especially leaders, should be quietly consulted in order to provide any useful evidence that might exonerate our brothers. Ploughing blindly hoping against hope might prove pretty costly. Furthermore, there are too many loose ends in ICC indictments that can be easily sewn by so many minds brought together. 

    • Balistic

      You wish !

  • Corvin1943

    Skjąd macie mój ?namiar? Jesteście wyudzaczmi. Żądam bezzwłocznego zwrotu tych “paru groszy”, które wyłudziliście ode mnie. Zawiadamiam Prokuraturę.

     życzę lepszych pomysłów na oszustrwa  – = #Tadeusz

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