Processed Meats Like Bacon, Hotdogs Linked to Cancer, World Health Organization Says
Bad news, bacon lovers.
A new study has concluded that processed red meats like bacon, hotdogs and salami are “carcinogenic to humans” -- a categorization shared by formaldehyde, asbestos, alcoholic beverages, air pollution and tobacco smoke.
The study was carried out by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO).
While processed meats that have been salted, cured or smoked were dubbed carcinogenic, untreated meats were considered “probably carcinogenic to humans,” according to the study -- a lesser but still sizable threat. Other possible classifications by the IARC include ‘Possibly carcinogenic to humans,’ ‘Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans’ and ‘Probably not carcinogenic to humans.’
The IARC reached its conclusion after assessing more than 800 studies across the globe about the consumption of red meat and its ties to cancer. Much of the research focused on the noted links between meat consumption and colorectal cancer -- the third most common form worldwide, following bladder and breast.
Leading meat organizations, however, balked at the IARC’s findings. While the North American Meat Institute called the study a “dramatic and alarmist overreach” that “defies common sense,” the American Association of Meat Processors said that the report “did not consider meat’s nutrition benefits in assigning its classification.”