What about processed white meat (chicken and fish)? Do you like smoked salmon? What about nitrate-free meat? These food preparation processes increase the levels of these cancer-causing chemicals in meat, whether the original animal is a mammal, bird or fish. However, the WHO Panel made its assessment mainly on the basis of research on processed red meat. Several mechanisms may contribute to the carcinogenic effects of processed and red meat.5, 12, 13 It has been suggested that heme iron, an easily absorbed form of iron found in the blood and muscle tissue of red meat, acts directly on the intestinal epithelium and increases oxidative damage to DNA. Heme iron may also promote the endogenous formation of N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), some of which are carcinogenic to humans, in the digestive tract.2, 3 Preserving meat by salting or by adding nitrates or nitrites or smoking can also lead to the formation of NOCs. Nitrates and nitrites are compounds used in food preservation and consist of one nitrogen molecule bonded to two (for nitrites) or three (for nitrates) oxygen atoms. Some processed meat products are labeled as “nitrite-free,” but these are usually dried with celery juice, a natural source of concentrated nitrates that can be falsely labeled “nitrite-free” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition, cooking meat at high temperatures over an open flame results in the production of heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, both of which cause DNA damage and increase the risk of cancer. As with other harmful factors such as tobacco, the cancer risk associated with ingesting processed meat can be multifactorial, and these mechanisms can interact in complex ways. Overall, IARC considered the evidence on the mechanism of effect on cancer risk to be “strong” for processed meat and “moderate” for red meat. Tobacco vs meat – what`s the risk? More on our blog: t.co/5AtIzFwEKh pic.twitter.com/o2heo1OLDa Processed meat causes colon cancer, and rates are rising in young people.
An alternative to government-sponsored PPE would be for a nonprofit to participate in a media campaign to communicate information about the link between processed meat and cancer. The First Amendment does not restrict the speech of a nongovernmental organization, but there are other legal considerations relevant to such a campaign. The main legal obligation of a private media campaign would be to ensure veracity and accuracy in order to avoid defamation claims when a false statement claiming to be fact harms another entity. Such a campaign is less likely to be challenged if it avoids denigrating certain brands. Finally, activists should be aware that several states have laws prohibiting the denigration of agricultural products; While there are open questions about the constitutionality of these laws, they could be used as a basis for litigation in these states.58 For other nutritional counseling issues, mass media campaigns were limited in scope and funding. There are very few mass media campaigns related to processed meat, but the Meatless Mondays initiatives that promote reducing meat consumption one day a week are a striking example.59 A key feature of the U.S. beef and pork industry that differs from many other food sectors is the role of government-sponsored semi-governmental levy organizations. These programs established by Congress are administered by producer committees appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and overseen by the USDA`s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
Using the federal government`s taxing power, the Cattlemen`s Beef Board collected $40.9 million26 and the National Pork Board raised $76.5 million27 in mandatory producer and importer assessments in 2017. These organizations then contract with major trade associations, including the National Cattlemen`s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council, respectively, to conduct advertising, marketing, product development, research and outreach activities. Sampling councils support high-profile information dissemination and awareness activities that claim that processed meat does not increase cancer risk. The USDA`s AMS must review and approve each public relations campaign supported by the collection programs, so those campaigns could be affected when a future 2020-2025 edition of the dietary guidelines more accurately assesses the effects of processed meat on cancer. Based on these collective findings, the WHO Panel today concluded that processed meat can cause cancer and has improved its assessment of the correlative to causal threat. “Processed meat is cheap, convenient, it`s everywhere, and everyone loves its taste,” said Marion Nestlé, professor emeritus of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. Nestlé was surprised to see that the data showed no significant correlation between people of certain income levels or race who ate more processed meat. A 2016 report by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund found that eating processed meat also increases the risk of stomach cancer.
 The World Health Organization, the World Cancer Research Fund, and the American Cancer Society have all concluded in recent years that processed meat is probably carcinogenic. The 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans did not separately assess the health effects of processed meat, although they did mention lower consumption of processed meat as a feature of a healthy diet. Given that the DGAC report recommended lower eating habits for red meat and processed meat, it may have seemed insignificant at first that it had not conducted a systematic review specifically looking at the cancer risk of processed meat or red meat. However, the DGAC`s decision to aggregate evidence of cancer risk associated with dietary habits in general, rather than consuming specially processed meat or red meat, may have facilitated the subsequent weakening of the meat recommendations in the DGA`s final report. In the context of this WHO report, yes. The danger posed by processed meat and red meat stems from the chemical properties inherent in all forms of meat (see below). Organic meat labeling, at least according to the USDA, addresses issues such as antibiotic use, hormone use and access to exercise for pets, which is outside the scope of the WHO report. A public notice campaign (PSA) encouraging Americans to reduce their consumption of processed meat could be conducted by federal or state governments (or local governments, to the extent they have the authority to do so) or nongovernmental organizations. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has defined a PSA as “a ready-to-use message intended to influence attitudes or behaviours” that “(1) aims to improve the health, safety and well-being of the community or to promote the programs, activities or services of government agencies; (2) is generally presented in a non-media manner; and (3) does not provide a commercial advantage to the sponsoring agency (i.e. revenue is not generated by the sale of a product or service).
53 media used for PPE could include everything from television to magazines to the internet. “Americans consume more processed meat than fish each year,” said study author Fang Fang Zhang, a nutrition and cancer epidemiologist at Tufts University`s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. A 2017 report by the National Academies, Redesigning the Process for Establishing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, called for improvements in the evaluation of this evidence.16 The report included recommendations on transparency, conflict of interest management for DGAC and federal agency staff, and improvements in the review of scientific evidence. In particular, the report recommended that the systematic review protocol be published in advance to clarify which research should be included and excluded. Recent public comments from academics have also highlighted the need to ask specific questions in the DGAC`s 2020-2025 review of the health effects of eating processed meat and red meat.17 For the 2020-2025 dietary guidelines, conclusions on red meat and processed meat depend on decisions on whether the evidence in the IARC and CRF reports, that have been summarized previously, be correctly determined as relevant. The evidence on processed meat cancer risk raises important questions about possible policy responses at the federal, state, and local levels.5, 6 If the growing evidence on processed meat consumption and cancer risk motivates policymakers to seek such an answer, they need a roadmap. This article discusses the scientific evidence itself, the policy process of reviewing and synthesizing that evidence into dietary guidelines for Americans, the influence of the beef and pork industries, and specific legal and policy factors that may affect the feasibility of four types of potential policy measures to reduce processed meat consumption.