The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently released a report classifying red and processed meats as cancer “hazards”.
Red and processed meats were among 940 agents reviewed by an IARC Monograph panel and found to pose some level of theoretical hazard. Only one of those agents has shown not to contain a cancer hazard and that is a substance found in yoga pants. In contrast, sunlight, breathing air, alcohol, wood dust, and working night shift, have all been found by IARC to pose a cancer risk.
“The report disregards countless scientific studies that show no connection between meat and cancer,” said Chris Young, AAMP’s outreach specialist. “IARC did not consider meat’s nutrition benefits in assigning its classification and did not consider the negative implications of discouraging consumers from making meat part of their healthy, balanced diet.”
Many recent, peer reviewed and public studies have found no relationship between red and processed meat and a variety of cancers. The IARC Monograph did not consider the entirety of the scientific evidence regarding red and processed meats.
“If we rely simply on IARC’s list of cancer ‘hazards’, it would be clear that just living on earth would be a cancer hazard,” said Young. “Consumers should interpret this sensibly. It’s IARC’s job to find cancer hazards, however, the scientific evidence shows red and processed meat can be part of a healthy diet.”
Have questions about IARC’s report? These resources may be helpful in interpreting the findings.