World Health Organization Links Red Meat and Processed Meat to Cancer
Posted on October 27, 2015
The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that a panel of experts found that red meat and processed meat is linked to a higher risk of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer. A New York Times story notes that the news provoked a very strong reaction from the meat industry.The WHO provided a FAQ to help explain the findings. Processed meat carries a higher risk than red meat. Process meat is classified in "Group 1, carcinogenic to humans." Red meat is classified as "Group 2A, probably carcinogenic to humans." Processed meat also tends to be high in salt and preservatives which are also considered unhealthy.
The FAQ also notes that the risk of cancer from red meat and processed meat is much smaller than the risk of cancer from smoking. The Global Burden of Disease Project estimates that about 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat and 50,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are possibly from diets high in red meat. Meanwhile, smoking is linked to about 1 million deaths per year.