Processed Meat Is Carcinogenic to Humans, New WHO Report Says

A new report released today by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer labels processed meat — hot dogs, bacon, cold cuts, and so on — a Group 1 carcinogen, in the same group as cigarettes. So what does that mean, you ask? Well, it means that, after lots of research, WHO now considers processed meat carcinogenic to humans. Red meat was placed in Group 2, as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Yikes.

According to a press release, the IARC analyzed over 800 studies that looked at how the consumption of processed meat and red meat impacted cancer. In the end, researchers found the strongest link between colorectal cancer and processed meat and red meat, though they spotted associations when it came to pancreatic and prostate cancers, as well.

According the report, for every 50-gram portion of processed meat a person eats in a day, their risk of colorectal cancer goes up by 18 percent. As Dr. Kurt Straif, head of IARC Monographs Programme says in the release, “For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed. In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.”

That said, who else will be reaching for coconut bacon come Sunday-morning brunch?

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