New study results on cancer-causing meats

ABC News Report
Bacon, sausages, ham and other processed meats are cancer-causing, red meat probably is too

Processed meats like bacon, sausages and hot dogs can cause colon cancer and red meat is also a likely cause of the disease, World Health Organisation (WHO) experts say, in a potentially heavy blow for the global meat industry.

Key points:

  • Analysis of 800 studies worldwide found evidence “consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer”
  • Varieties of meat include salted, cured, fermented and smoked meat, among others
  • Processed meat added to same category of cancer-causing agents as smoking and asbestos
  • Could account for 50,000 worldwide deaths per year
  • Scientists, nutritionists say moderation the best approach
  • “Farce to compare sausages with cigarettes”: Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce

The analysis of 800 studies from around the world by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found “sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer”.

“Each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent,” it said in a statement.

The category includes meat that has been salted, cured, fermented or smoked — hot dogs, sausages, corned beef, dried meat like beef jerky or South African biltong, canned meat or meat-based sauces.

The finding supports “recommendations to limit intake of meat” — particularly in processed forms, the IARC said.

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