NAMI responds to carcinogenic meat report

3 Nov 2015

The North American Meat Institute has responded to the vote by an International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph panel classifying red and processed meat as cancer “hazards”, saying that it defies both common sense and numerous studies.

NAMI responds to carcinogenic meat report

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) has responded to the vote by an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monograph panel classifying red and processed meat as cancer “hazards”, saying that it defies both common sense and numerous studies showing no correlation between meat and cancer and many more studies showing the many health benefits of balanced diets that include meat. Scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods, said NAMI, and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health.

“It was clear sitting in the IARC meeting that many of the panelists were aiming for a specific result despite old, weak, inconsistent, self-reported intake data, said Betsy Booren, NAMI Vice President of Scientific Affairs. “They tortured the data to ensure a specific outcome. Red and processed meat are among 940 agents reviewed by IARC and found to pose some level of theoretical ‘hazard.’ Only one substance, a chemical in yoga pants, has been declared by IARC not to cause cancer.”

“IARC says you can enjoy your yoga class, but don’t breathe air (Class I carcinogen), sit near a sun-filled window (Class I), apply aloe vera (Class 2B) if you get a sunburn, drink wine or coffee (Class I and Class 2B), or eat grilled food (Class 2A).And if you are a hairdresser or do shiftwork (both Class 2A), you should seek a new career.”

IARC’s panel was given the basic task of looking at hazards that meat could pose at some level, under some circumstance, said NAMI, but was not asked to consider any off-setting benefits, like the nutrition that meat delivers or the implications of drastically reducing or removing meat from the diet altogether.

“Followers of the Mediterranean diet eat double the recommended amount of processed meats. People in countries where the Mediterranean diet is followed, like Spain, Italy and France, have some of the longest lifespans in the world and excellent health,” said Booren. “IARC’s decision simply cannot be applied to people’s health because it considers just one piece of the health puzzle: theoretical hazards. Risks and benefits must be considered together before telling people what to eat, drink, drive, breathe, or where to work.”