A research division of the World Health Organization announced Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer and that red meat probably does, too.
The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States.
The WHO findings were drafted by a panel of 22 international experts who reviewed decades of research on the link between red meat, processed meats and cancer. The panel reviewed animal experiments, studies of human diet and health, and cell processes that could explain how red meat might cause cancer.
In reaching its conclusion, the panel sought to quantify the risks, and compared to carcinogens such as cigarettes, the magnitude of the danger appears small, experts said. The WHO panel cited studies suggesting that an additional 3.5 ounces of red meat everyday raises the risk of colorectal cancer by 17 percent; eating an additional 1.8 ounces of processed meat daily raises the risk by 18 percent, according to the research cited.
From April, 2005: Bacon, sausage, hot dogs and processed meats hike cancer risk by 67% due to chemical preservative, says nutritionist:
...[T]he huge spike in toxicity and cancer risk can only be explained by something added during meat processing, explains Mike Adams, author of "Grocery Warning," a manual that teaches consumers how to avoid foods that promote chronic disease.
"We've known for years that sodium nitrite consumption leads to leukemia in children and brain tumors in infants," explained Adams. "Now we have a large-scale study of nearly 200,000 people that provides solid evidence of the link between processed meats and pancreatic cancer." The ingredient also promotes colorectal cancer as it passes through the digestive tract.
From August, 2005: The real reason why processed meats are so dangerous to your health:
Have you ever wondered why the consumption of processed meats is so strongly linked to cancers of the colon, breast, prostate and pancreas? ... [The] reason processed meats are so strongly correlated with cancer is, I believe, the continued use of a cancer-promoting additive called sodium nitrite.
This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient, and the USDA actually tried to ban this additive in the 1970's but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products.
From November, 2007: Processed Meat Unsafe For Human Consumption; Cancer Experts Warn of Dietary Dangers:
Processed meats, the report explains, are simply too dangerous for human consumption. And why? Because they contain chemical additives that are known to greatly increase the risk of various cancers, including colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, brain tumors, pancreatic cancer and many more... Processed meat has many ingredients and is usually packaged for long-term shelf life. These products almost always contain sodium nitrite, the cancer-causing chemical additive that meat companies use as a color fixer to turn their meat products a bright red "fresh-looking" color.