WHO Study Links Processed Meat to Cancer

By Kaitlyn Quinn,
International News Writer

Hot dogs and ham, categorized as synonymous with American functions like barbeques and lunch breaks, may not be appearing on dinner tables as often as they have in past decades.

The two processed meat delicacies are at the top of a “group one” list for evidence of cancer links created by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, (IARC), a counterpart of the World Health Organization, (WHO).

The IARC clarifies that an excess of meat-eating does not dictate cancer diagnosis as directly as smoking does; however, it did note that 34,000 cancer deaths per year were directly linked to diets that included large amounts of processed meat.

Red meats such as steaks and roasts are likely to be banned from dining tables as well since they, too, are included on the list of cancer-causes.

Both have been found to contain herbicide glyphosate, which is said to be a cancer-causing ingredient.

The World Health Organization, (WHO), according to news website Aljazeera America, has found a correlation between the diagnosis of bowel cancer and a consistent consumption of red meat.

The red meat categorization also studied connections between red meat and colorectal, prostate, and pancreatic cancer, while the processed meat testing was conducted to detect any positive correlation with colorectal and stomach cancer.

The IARC found that the daily consumption of each 50 gram portion of processed meat can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent, as reported by Aljazeera America. WHO conducted more than 800 studies, predominantly focusing on those that included the general population over an extended period of time.

While the meat market has continually undergone criticism from public health, environmental, and animal welfare groups throughout past decades, it maintains that the scientific evidence obtained from the studies does not directly verify the relationship between any cancer and the consumption of processed or red meat.

The executive director of human nutrition research at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Dr. Shalene McNeill, pointed out that “correlation is not causation”, in reference to the idea that eating meat and dying from cancer could also be explained by additional factors, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

Barry Carpenter, president of the North American Meat Institute, also told the Journal that “risks and benefits must be considered together.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 3rd print edition.

Contact Kaitlyn at


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