UN Health Agency Calls Processed Meats and Red Meats Cancer HazardsMon, 26 Oct 2015 07:43:14 CDT
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, has selectively evaluated research that has looked at the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.
After reviewing some of the scientific literature on the subject, a Working Group of 22 experts from 10 countries convened by the IARC Monographs Programme classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A), based on "limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect. This association was observed mainly for colorectal cancer, but associations were also seen for pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer."
Processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer. The experts concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. “ For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed , ” says Dr Kurt Straif, Head of the IARC Monographs Programme. “ I n view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.”
The organization does acknowledge that there are nutritional benefits to eating red meat. Dr Christopher Wild, Director of IARC says in the IARC news release "At the same time, red meat has nutritional value . Therefore, these results are important in enabling governments and international regulatory agencies to conduct risk assessments, in order to balance the risks and benefits of eating red meat and processed meat and to provide the best possible dietary recommendations.”
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