retail news in context, analysis with attitude

NBC News has a piece about how the new World Health Organization (WHO) report saying that red meat - including beef, pork and lamb - probably cause cancer, in addition to processed meats that it also has said are carcinogenic.

"Many studies show the links, both in populations of people and in tests that show how eating these foods can cause cancer," according to WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which released the report in Lancet, a medical journal.

The story quotes Susan Gapstur of the American Cancer Society as saying that "the conclusion that processed meat (e.g., hot dogs, bacon, sausage, deli meats, etc.) causes cancer and that red meat (e.g., beef, pork, lamb) is a probable cause of cancer may come as a surprise to a public that for years has relied heavily on red and processed meats as a part of its diet ... In fact, classifying processed meat as carcinogenic and red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans is not unexpected. Indeed, based on earlier scientific studies, including findings from the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study II, the American Cancer Society has recommended limiting consumption of red and processed meat specifically since 2002."

In fact, MN took note last July of a Quartz story predicting the issuance of this WHO report.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) says that the report is consistent with its own longtime advice: "For years AICR has been recommending that individuals reduce the amount of beef, pork, lamb and other red meats in their diets and avoid processed meats like bacon, sausage and hot dogs," AICR's Susan Higginbotham, a registered dietician, said in a statement.

Fox News reports that "the North American Meat Institute said that the research that looked at more than 800 studies on cancer and consumption of red meat or processed meat 'defies common sense' and ignored numerous studies showing no link between meat and cancer: 'Scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health,' writes Barry Carpenter, president of the lobbying group.

And Shalene McNeil, executive director of human nutrition at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, tells , "We simply don’t think the evidence support any causal link between any red meat and any type of cancer."
KC's View:
The real news here would be if anybody in the pro-meat lobbying business actually conceded that their products had any relationship to cancer.

I'm no scientist ... but the WHO findings seem entirely reasonable to me. Then again, I've already cut back on my meat consumption for health reasons. If it helps cut back a bit on my chances of getting cancer, that sounds like a pretty good deal.