The WHO Finds Eating Processed Meats a Cancer Risk

The World Health Organization has concluded that processed meats such as wieners, sausages and bacon are linked to cancer. Additionally the organization says red meats including beef, pork, veal and lamb are “probably carcinogenic” to people.

A group of 22 scientists reviewed the evidence linking red meat and processed meat consumption to cancer and concluded that eating processed meats regularly increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Their evidence review is explained in an article published in The Lancet.

Processed meat was defined as meat transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking “or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation.” The most common processed meats consumed in the U.S. include hot dogs, sausages, bacon, ham, canned meat and beef jerky.

International Agency for Cancer Research director Christopher Wild said the findings support current public health recommendations to limit intake of meat but stressed that red meat has nutritional value. He said governments and international regulatory agencies must balance the risks and benefits of eating red meat and processed meat to provide the best possible dietary recommendations.