retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Quartz reports that the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is expected to release a report this October that will identify red meat as a carcinogen.

The story says that "eating too much red meat has been linked to health problems including shorter lifespans, heart disease, and various kinds of cancer. In April 2014, the IARC cited studies linking red and processed meats to colorectal, esophageal, lung, and pancreatic cancer, and called determining the connection a 'high priority.' Since then, the organization has been collecting information to make their final determination," which is expected to be published later this year.

Meat lobbyists already are worried, and the story quotes Betsy Booren, vice president for scientific affairs at the North American Meat Institute, as saying that "if they determine that red and processed meat causes cancer—and I think that they will—that moniker will stick around for years ... It could take decades and billions of dollars to change that." And she said that her organization will fight any such classification, just as it fought against "the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s recent report that said healthier diets are lower in red and processed meats."
KC's View:
Not to nitpick, but it sounds like what Booren is saying is that it will take decades and billions of dollars to change the perception that red meat is not carcinogenic ... as opposed to actually changing the degree to which it causes cancer.

While I recognize that not everyone will agree with me on this, I think it is fair to say that I have a hard time taking seriously any organization that says a healthier diet is lower in red and processed meats. I mean, that just seems obvious to me, and pretty much supported by science. Any argument against that seems to be more about commerce and less about nutrition, though I understand why a meat lobbyist would make it.

All I know is that I was trying to decide last night between a veggie pizza and a meat lover's pizza. I'm glad I went for the veggie version ... though I recognize that the fact that I was eating pizza instead of a salad probably mitigates against any health advantages.