WHO says processed meats do cause cancer!

| 28 October 2015
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The World Health Organisation announced this week that eating just 50 grams of processed meat (less than two slices of bacon) a day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 18 per cent. They also found an increase of 100g of red meat a day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 17 per cent. They also found links between red meat and pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer, and processed meat and stomach cancer.

This breaking news came just two days after Viva!’s shocking footage revealed pigs crammed into tiny cages next to abandoned carcasses at Red Tractor farm that supplies Morrisons supermarket (see more here).

No wonder meat consumption is falling! R​ecent data from Defra shows UK meat consumption has fallen by 13 per cent since 2007.

Early this week 22 scientists from ten countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, to evaluate the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat. Their assessments were published on Monday.

The main findings

  • Overall, the Working Group classified consumption of processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1) on the basis of sufficient evidence for colorectal cancer. Additionally, a positive association with the consumption of processed meat was found for stomach cancer.
  • The Working Group classified consumption of red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2A).
  • In making this evaluation, the Working Group took into consideration all the relevant data, including the substantial epidemiological data showing a positive association between consumption of red meat and colorectal cancer and the strong mechanistic evidence. Consumption of red meat was also positively associated with pancreatic and with prostate cancer.


BBC: Processed meats do cause cancer – WHO

Guardian: Processed meats rank alongside smoking as cancer causes – WHOhttps://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/26/bacon-ham-sausages-processed-meats-cancer-risk-smoking-says-who


About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
Justine joined Viva! in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. After working as a campaigner, then researcher and writer, she is now Viva!’s head of research and her work focuses on animals, the environment and health. Justine’s scientific training helps her research and write both in-depth scientific reports, such as White Lies and the Meat Report, as well as easy-to-read factsheets and myth-busting articles for consumer magazines and updates on the latest research. Justine also recently wrote the Vegan for the Planet guide for Viva!’s Vegan Now campaign.

View author page | View staff profile

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