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WHO: Processed meat linked to cancer; red meat is risky too


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Hots Dogs, Turkey Bacon, Bologna, Lunch Meat no matter the animal are all extremely processed foods that have been known to cause cancer. Children are especially susceptible to Leukemia from eating too much processed meats.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

This news couldn't come at a better time as there is growing evidence that meat, besides the cancer risk, as it is produced today is the byproduct of our brutal relationship with animals and the environment. Whether for reasons of health, morality or a concern about climate change, reducing meat consumption is today an imperative.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

I thought my local "fresh" ham was alright as they didn't seem heavily processed to me. It's good to be able to clearly define what processed meats are, and that any treated meat has these toxins. I already eat as healthy as I can, but as for now my Ham Sandwiches just became chicken.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I rather wish the risk were higher so people would cut down greatly. I think it is offensive to see people eating flesh from animals and in restaurants at the very least they should be segregated from the rest of us so we don't have to see them. The stench of their seared flesh is also off-putting and makes me want to vomit. Now it is clear we will have to pay their cancer bills as well as the other bills from their disgusting and unhealthy habit.

-43 ( +1 / -42 )

I feel like people just get cancer from anything these days.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Leukemia linked cancer from hot dogs


Processed meats and risk of childhood leukemia (California, USA).


Study links hot dogs to leukemia


2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yiipes! Canned tuna from now on. But, what about the mercury content? Then vegetables. But a lot of them are GMO? Then organic. But I cannot afford the prices.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

It's not the meat itself, but the food we give to the animals. 50 years ago when the animals were still eating grass, it was normal and fine. Now they give things that the animals can't eat. In Argentina, they eat twice what we eat in NA and still they have 2 times less cancer reliated with red meat. Since my first time in Japan, everytime I go back to Canada, I don't eat as much red meat as I used to. I can eat a little portion each month and each time I do, my stomach is having a hard time. When I'm in Japan I don't eat meat that much, only Kobe.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I recommend to eat Natto or Tofu instead.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Hold the pepperoni, and book me a colonoscopy!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It is probably all the growth hormones and other chemicals that goes into animal food these days to make them grow fast. Cancer is just fast growing cells.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

If you cook a hormone, is it still a hormone?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Being South African, and having been exposed to a culture of rampant meat eating (including the mention biltong), I have never encountered a single person with colorectal cancer. This is, of course, just an anecdotal and completely unscientific observation...but I feel that, given the red meat consumption of my people, there would be at least one person I know. Then again maybe there is but they don't know, or don't tell.

They mention an 18% increase in likelihood of developing colorectal cancer but don't mention the actual percent of the population that develop it to start with. 18% increase in 1% is irrelevant where an 18% increase in 50% is more concerning.

Likely your odds don't change that much either way in my opinion. We should be considering downsizing the meat industry for so many more reasons than the fear of cancer; The resources wasted in its production being the main aspect.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

There absolutely nothing wrong with eating meat. The problem is what the companies do to the animals we eat to increase their profits. That's where the lawmakers should clamp down, put a couple of these criminals that inject hormones into animals and / or keep them in inhumane conditions before they are being slaughtered to jail.. According to these kinds of studies everything give us cancer. Bunch of baloney.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Who needs to read research by trained medical and nutritional experts when you can just go on to any Internet comments section and find tons of people who already know exactly what it is that makes you unhealthy?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Mike, baloney should be on the list too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I try not to eat mammalian meat too often or too much. For health and moral reasons.

That said, I prefer to live a little shorter if not better.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Even if this were true, I don't think I could not eat meat. Going a week without meat gives me the shakes and I would surely not survive for long

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The real problem with processes meats -- and their deliver systems (buns, pizza dough) , and component parts (fats, sugars) is they make people obese, with all the fat in the wrong place (around internal organs), causing diabetes.

Fast food kills.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ridiculous. seems there is nothing that is good for you.

6 ( +7 / -1 )


-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I hate it how every time I go to some restaurant my clothes ends up stinking of burned flesh because some meat-eater wants to gorge on a piece of dead animal, oblivious to the rest of us. Perhaps this will now encourage them to cut down, or - if they have to continue stuffing their faces with dead muscle (or worse, stinky offal) of animal - conceal their filthy habit in the corner under the extractor fan. Some day, because we will all have to pay for their habit in increased medical costs, meat-eating is finally gonna be consigned to its rightful place as anti-social and immoral.

-17 ( +1 / -18 )

Avoiding eating these is like trying to avoid death, you're gonna die anyway, might as well enjoy! Everything in moderation as a matter of course.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

There's no way I'm giving up on eating SPAM. I don't care what anyone says.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And yet, I'll eat them because I LOVE them.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Everybody.. for now on lets us just eat vitamins and proteins in pills.... since that seems the only way to not get sick, not get cancer and above all "respect all life"... if you get hungry, I suppose we should eat sand.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

MoonrakerOCT. 27, 2015 - 11:06AM JST Some day, because we will all have to pay for their habit in increased medical costs, meat-eating is finally gonna be consigned to its rightful place as anti-social and immoral.

What an idiotic statement to make, eating meal is anti-social and immoral?? Since when are we sharing "society" with animals? Is your cat or dog immoral? They are both carnivores you know. I can see lions sitting down in the middle of the Serengeti to debate the morality of their actions before going to hunt down a zebra. Then pass around a questionnaire to find out whether that action can be considered anti-social in insensitive as that zebra probably had brothers, sisters cousins and even children of his/her own. Oh the horror...

3 ( +6 / -3 )

No, Noidall, I am just trying out some of the usual anti-smoking arguments in this case for meat-eaters. But anyway, we now have the trifecta as vegetarians to get meat-eating marginalised. As you say, it is barbaric, and I would say immoral, but meat-eaters don't care about that. You are wrong about vegetarianism being more environmentally damaging. Research it. But anyway, meat-eaters care nothing about their effect on the environment anyway so have rarely listened to that either. But now there is a increased cost to society through illness we can use many of the same arguments as against smokers to perhaps gain legislation or taxation in our favour. There is no moral argument for eating meat but several against it so I am now gratified that we can make the world just a little less cruel and more moral with arguments that will be listened to. And by the way, meat is not the only source of protein, even in Africa.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

I suspect Moonraker was making a humorous attempt to emulate the opprobium cast on smokers in restaurants and other public spaces. As a hard-line vegetarian, even I found it .... lacking. Don't give up the day job, Moonraker. :-)

But Mr. Noidall, as usual had to go right over the top.....

vegetarianism is just as harmful to the environment.


Trees and forests need to be cut down and uprooted to make fields for a vegetarian society.

No. We can plant on the land that would have been used to grow fodder for captive animals kept in feed lots. We could plant on the feed lots. Veggies take much less land to grow than meat to provide the same nutrition.

the Eco system would be further unbalanced.

The lower levels of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere would play a small but significant part in curbing global warming/climate change.

vegetarianism is such a bourgeoisie and arrogant ideal. I mean, people in Africa and other poor parts of the world don't have the luxury to be so picky about food. Meat is the only source of protein

Actually it's the recent spurt of affluence in places like China that has increased the demand for meat globally - China now consumes a quarter of the world's supply of meat, while accounting for around 18% of the world's population. As this chart shows, -http://chartsbin.com/view/12730 - on the whole it's the richer nations that consume more meat, while the poorer countries of Africa made do with a fraction of the world per capita average (41.9kg per person per year): Benin 20.9kg, Botswana 26.2kg, Burundi 5.2kg, Central African Republic 33.5, Malawi 8.3 kg, Niger 25.6, Nigeria 8.8, Sierra Leone 7.3, while middle-income South Africa gets through 58.6kg, still well short of the 'bourgeoisie and arrogant' levels of the really affluent countries: UK 84.2kg, USA 120.2 kg, Switzerland 74.7kg, Sweden 80.2kg, New Zealand 106.4kg, Netherlands 85.5kg, Luxembourg 107.9kg, Kuwait 119.2kg, Italy 90.7kg, Canada 94.3kg.. ...you get the picture.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Ah, MikeRowave, the old appeal-to-nature argument (sometimes, perhaps wrongly, called the naturalistic fallacy); that what happens in nature is justification for the way we live. Except it does not take much thought to realise we don't live in a state of nature. We could justify almost anything with that argument.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

vegetarianism is just as harmful to the environment.

You should have a look at the recent film "cowspiracy".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I hate these red-meat cancer studies that pop up every now and then. There are just so many variables to consider in such studies. Like for instance, vegetarians and vegans tend to be more health-conscious people in general anyway. Any smaller rate of bowel/colon cancer in them could be due to a dozen other or so reasons other than "they don't eat meat so..."

Then there are the arguments for groups like paleo eaters who eat plenty of meat, but none of it processed, and are themselves quite healthy and strong. Or the inuit who traditionally ate an almost exclusively animal based diet which proved to be great for their health and well-being. Clearly there are so many other factors that cause cancer.

The processed meat correlation with cancer probably does have a lot going for it, and it's nothing new. Even advocates of meat-heavy diets have been saying this for years. Actually, processed food of any sort is going to have far more detriments than benefits over the long-term, but really, refined sugars and carbohydrates seem to do a lot more harm to the body than even lightly processed meats. I honestly believe these are the greatest evil doers in today's food supply.

Finally, as with all these studies, it's wrong to lump unprocessed meats in with processed ones. Processed hot-dogs and a lamb cutlet are not the same at all. One is filled with artificial coloring, preservatives and emulsifiers, not much actual meat and is nutritionally very poor. The other is the flesh of a grass-fed animal which yields a high nutritional content. At least this study kind of separates them somewhat. In the end though it should be of no surprise to anyone that eating cheap hot dogs and bacon is going to lead to some ill effects. Personally, I don't go for a lot of processed meat except for some ham and pastrami here and there. I'll continue to eat unprocessed ( grass fed as much as possible ) meat and try to skip processed foods of any sort ( I'm only human though. I do like a snack from time to time.)

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Bad news for my Sunday morning fry-up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Since there is a confusion regarding the production of vegetables.

The environmental impact to produce vegetable is nearly the same as producing meat. I am an Agricultural Engineer and sorry I know about this a lot.

Cleo stated that it is possible to plant vegetables without cutting trees and she is right about that, as she is about being able to produce a lot of vegetables with the proper nutrients . She is right about that...

But, unfortunately that is not the whole picture (it never is). The mixed production is in fact a very profitable and high productivity system for crops, an by crops I mean every vegetable you can consume.

Not cutting trees (forest) and plant vegetables between the trees is viable but it wont produce enough to sustain human life. Also the crops and the trees are and will compete for nutrients and in this case the bigger the stronger, sun light is another problem so either you cut trees or you get a very bad production of veggies. In order to be able to sustain human lives with that kind of "eco friendly" production, it will be necessary to eliminate around 70% of human population world wide. I say "Eco Friendly" but it is not, some crops (Allioideae for example, onions and garlic) are toxic to some animals and insects plant that I you may cause the death of a lot of animal life in the wild. Regarding nutrients, also, the requirements of nutrients differs plant to plant some even need nutrients that are harmful in high doses for other plants (and animals)... Borum and Aluminium comes to mind. Grain tend to dry up the land, you grow grains in a forest and the forest is bye bye in a couple of cycles.

And don't forget the diseases and "plagues" that affect crops... you fight them but you will kill other animal and plant life doing so... don't fight and you will be left with no crops.

Lastly but not least, where do you people think those "magical nutrients" comer from... they come from either animal manure, and to have a good amount to grow crops you need to have a good amount of animals (or humans but that is risky very risky)...or the other way is to get it by chemical companies... this is oil and other chemical reactions that as far as I know the sub product tends to be toxic and harmful to the environment and the human health.

Sorry there is no way around... a balanced life eating vegetables as well as animal products is the only way to sustain human life...

Of course there is the final and definitive solution... get rid of humans.. that will solve the problem.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

All readers back on topic please. This story is not about vegetables.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I love meat, but I consume only small amounts, unlike our counterparts in most countries in the world.

And the pictures of those sausages sure look good, but where can you find them in Japan?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

From from a different news story.

The company analyzed 345 hot dog and sausage products from 75 brands and 10 retailers, and said they found "human DNA in 2% of the samples, and in 2/3rds of the vegetarian samples."

"Additionally, 10 percent of all vegetarian products appeared to contain meat."

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It's 2015,EVERYTHING causes Cancer these days!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Moderation is the key, just about too much of anything is bad.

And no.. smokers, its not the same.. even if red meat caused cancer every time I ate it doesn't effect you at all.

And we are going to die... while I totally agree with making extremely carcinogenic substances known but at some point quality of life and enjoyment has to be part of the calculation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Unfortunately no amount of processed meat is safe and problematic are the nitrates that are added to these meats as a preservative, coloring and flavoring. The nitrates found in processed meat are converted into nitrosomines, which are associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. Also any meat cooked at high temperatures can contain different types of heterocyclic amines and these substances are linked to cancer. Many processed meats are also smoked as part of the curing process, and smoking is the cause of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which enter your food during the smoking process. In the end evidence is pretty cut and dry that processed meat will raise cancer risk.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I want to read from WHO that nuclear plant managed by companies like TEPCO is linked to cancer, that's all I want to read from WHO.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I feel like this, i eat meat, I like to hunt meat, I'm a meat lover and I love all kinds of meat from beef to deer, sausages you name it. Nowadays, there is nothing that you can do to keep you from dying, it's going to happen, sooner or later and I try to live healthy, eat right, work out regularly, but I am NOT going to deprive myself of the most wonderful pleasures in life and the only way you ever truly know if you beat cancer is, if you die from something else. I will continue to eat all the delicious meats out there and if and when it's my time to go, at least I can leave being happy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

News just in...

We are all going to die.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

News for Tina: Tofu and soy (sauce, milk, beans, products) contribute to cancer too.

Also, we can't forget to add alcohol into the mix. Just thinking that you are going to die of cancer is part of it, too. As bass4funk says, you beat cancer by dying of something else. Bottom line: Life ends badly: lost, buried or scattered.

These articles are not helpful as they give readers no clue as to the parameters of the studies. Headlines raise alarm. That's all. You don't know the size of the study, the other factors considered, the quality of the meat consumed, how other possible causes of cancer were eliminated from the study, or what portions were eaten or how frequently.

Remember when eggs and butter were the new evil? Turns out they're not so bad as all that if consumed in moderation. I suspect that if you enjoy bacon once or twice a month you're going to have less chance of getting cancer than breathing the air in most cities of the world.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Curious how vegans in the UK didn't show a lesser rate of cancer as meat eaters?

In the US, we are warned about eating fish more than 3-times a week. Cancer.

Don't people buy special cancer insurance in Japan? I never understood that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

LOL. All this discussion about cancers caused by red meat. Even the WHO isn't saying that.

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

So the IARC has basically stated in this sentence that if you ate ANY processed meat EVER IN YOUR LIFE, you will get colorectal cancer. This is an amazing statement for a supposed organization based on science and hard to believe (and rightly so). If you continue reading their report you find that eating processed meat doesn't cause colorectal cancer, but only increases the chance of contracting colorectal cancer. So which of those chemicals used in the processing are what actually increases the risk?

2 ( +3 / -1 )


And no.. smokers, its not the same.. even if red meat caused cancer every time I ate it doesn't effect you at all. Please keep up. If we have to pay for the externalities of the meat industry and for the extra illness and incapacity through insurance and socialized medicine then, like smoking, it does affect us. Meat is going the same way as tobacco.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Moonraker, this is about whether there is a small increase in cancer risk from eating processed meat, not a venue for yours views on the morality of eating meat.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Soy beans have natural carcinogen and is loaded with estrogen like hormones but Japanese population who is leading soy products consumer is nearly not affected by eating them so we can concluded not what we eating but how we prepare is important. Maybe after meat WHO will attack tofu too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Will die for Yakiniku. Literally will die. Cannot live without it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lies damn lies and statistics. Correlation is not causation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm not surprised by these new findings but its still not going to keep me form eating meat period!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Leigh I Q Wighton: "Lamb chops from sheep fed on grass alone"?

To find 100% organic you will struggle. Most sheep have grass to eat but get pellets fed to them every day. Antibiotics too. The struggle against disease means the less-poisonous subsitute sheep dips do not work very well. Many farmers who tried to go organic have had to give up, and I believe there is even a category now of semi-organic.

The best advice I can think of is to spread your poisons. Tuna no more than once a week, etc. Luckily most of us do not live in China where almost all food sources are more heavily polluted, I hear.

Go easy on those nitrates/nitrites.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

these epidemiological studies are a load of bologna..... Do you eat processed meat? yeah, what?, pepperoni on my pizza? yeah? right tick that box then. How can you truly know what the deep underlying cause of any disease is when you lump all the constituent components of a meal into the equation??? A person who has some nice ham or pepperoni on a salad or part of homemade meal, or the junk food eater eating pizza weekly - very different, but lumped together.

vegetarianism is just as harmful to the environment..... Poppycock.

Sorry, but you are clueless, vegetarians should be grainatarains, they eat far more grains than the rest of us, I eat more vegetables than most "vege"tarians, The word is a complete misnomer. Vegetables are the biggest part of my diet, Grains are the biggest part of a typical "vegetarian diet. The production of GRAINS is hugely, massively destructive to the environment. tilling, ploughing releases huge amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Including the nasty Nitrous Oxide. Ploughing soil is a terrible idea, just ask the dustbowl Oklahomans what a bad idea it is. Not to mention the millions of small animals killed each year in crop fields - snakes, field mice, rabbits, prairie dogs, birds etc. It's fine for all them to die? hmmm

Permaculture, animals eating grass and a symbiotic relationship is nature's way of protecting soil, not ploughing millions of acres for wheat, corn ,soy and rape. The only ploughing of soil should be small scale and for true vegetables which have superior yield and nutrition per acre than any grain

Trees and forests need to be cut down and uprooted to make fields for a vegetarian society.

No. We can plant on the land that would have been used to grow fodder for captive animals kept in feed lots. We could plant on the feed lots. Veggies take much less land to grow than meat to provide the same nutrition. the Eco system would be further unbalanced.

No. You once again are confusing veges and grains. we can grow fields of grass, free range cattle and sheep can graze it, hens can run around eating bugs in the cow dung, nature can do its thing. but you are right feedlots/CAFO are hideous and completely wrong.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The production of GRAINS is hugely, massively destructive to the environment

47% of soy and 60% of corn grown in the USA is fed to livestock.

animals eating grass

..sounds lovely, pity most of the meat that ends up on people's plates is fed on grain in feedlots and piped full of antibiotics and growth hormones. If all the meat were grass-fed, it would be way too expensive for most people to buy regularly.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Residual growth hormones content of beef are negligible compared to what human naturally produces. If you are afraid of hormones you should avoid tofu which contains a several millions times more estrogen than beef. ex. per 500 gms, tofu -> 110,000,000 ng of estrogen, beef -> 7 ng, "natural" beef -> 5, eggs -> 555, soy flour -> 755,000,000

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is a well known and not surprising fact, that 100% of people who follow a healthy eating regime, and who do not drink or smoke, will die.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Executive Summary of this WHO thingie is that your chance of getting colorectal cancer may be 1% more than they thought. Instead of a 6% chance, you might have a 7% chance.

If you want to mitigate your risks of dying, you should focus more on losing weight and not getting crap-faced drunk than fretting about a BLT sandwich.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you don't like bacon you are wrong.

True story

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Australia and New Zealand produce grass fed lamb and beef, and as well as being able to feed their own people on it, they export it around the world.

They also export grain-fed beef. According to their own PR, Grainfed beef now accounts for one third of Australia's total beef production, over 1.5 billion pounds.


I don't think I've ever seen beef sold in Japan, either domestic or imported, advertised as 'grass-fed'? I remember reading somewhere once, can't find it now, that the Japanese market prefers grain-fed because that's closer to the marbled 'shimofuri' that is considered top of the range.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is not new news. Research has been ongoing for decades, releasing similar advice from data.

However, with no absolute claims, there is one particular group that appears to stand out and they are the nitrite / nitrate presevatives used in processed meats. These are known carcinogens. Nitrites do occur naturally and are esp abundant in some leafy greens - spinach, lettuce etc, but the amount actually consumed is probably much greater in processed meat than vegetables. For example people are not likely to sit down and gorge on 250 grams of lettuce but can easily consume that amount in meat servings.

The science is still being analyzed / debated, but the other concern with nitrites in meat is what happens in the digestive tract when meat protein, fats are broken down by acids in the presence of nitrites. It appears as if different chemical reactions occur, possibly turning the meat nitrites into a more formidable carcinogenic form.

A little processed meat consumption shouldn't warrant significant concern - but regular consumption of "cold cuts, sausages, baloney and the like especially cheaper mass produced versions should be avoided.

In addition it is well known that high temperature cooking (frying, grilling, roasting, bbqing...) esp of animal proteins & fats can produce carcinogenic compounds such as benzopyrene & aromatic hydrocarbons. Dairy products - milk & cheese with high casein content are particularly prone to these changes. And vegetables - esp carbohydrate rich like potatoes - also can undergone such changes. The browning / caramelizing of many many foods will produce these potentially cancer causing compounds. But we all know how yummy they taste - caramalized onions mmmm.

I guess in the case of cooking bacon for example you get a double hit of carcinogens- nitrites & amines / aromatic hydrocarbons etc. So we should try to eat as simple as we can mostly and save the potentially carcinogenic yummy stuff for those "occasions" - like this Saturdays Autumn bbq.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

-> browny1 Nitrates/nitrates are not known carcinogens. They are no hard evidence to prove that. IARC have pronounced them "probably" carcinogenic. Weasel words like that should warn you. I notice you use a lot of weasel words too. Probably, potentially, yeah right. Vegetable (celery) can contain to as much as 50x nitrates so yeah eating 250 gms of delicious meat will give you the same amount of nitrates as 5 gms of celery.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

far less than half of Australian beef is grain fed

One third is still a sizeable amount, and it means that buying Aussie beef is no guarantee that you're getting grass-fed. Especially if you buy it in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Arimura - thanks for the comments - but I'm not sure I follow at all what you're on about.

Weasel words - please expand.

And can you re-read my post thoroughly and try to understand what I was mentioning. I clearly stated nitrites are in "abundance" in some green vegetables areas so I don't need that to be pointed out to me. Did you even read my lower postings re digestive processes & animal protein / fats and the cooking process of the same???

I welcome all comments on my comments, but they need to be coherent and based on all of what I mentioned.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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