Bacon To Be Classified As Dangerous As Cigarettes By World Health Organization

Guy Bentley | Research Associate, Reason Foundation

The World Health Organization (WHO) will soon warn that some of America’s favorite meats are as dangerous a cigarettes.

WHO will target processed meats such as bacon, ham and sausages as causes of cancer and will say red meat is also hazardous to health in a decision to be released Monday. The findings resulted from a meeting of scientists from 10 countries.

The Daily Mail reports WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer will conclude that a host of processed meats should be placed in the highest of five possible rankings as “carcinogenic to humans.”

The ranking will put burgers and bacon alongside asbestos, arsenic, cigarettes and alcohol. The justification behind the decision, according to the Daily Mail, is that when meat is being preserved through processes like smoking carcinogens can be added. Red meat on the other hand has been linked to bowel cancer, according to the U.K’s Department of Health.

The decision is already drawing fire from scientists and meat experts, with the North American Meat Institute claiming the the report went against “both common sense and dozens of studies showing no correlation between meat and cancer.”

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Dr. Ian Johnson, Emeritus Fellow of the Institute of Food Research, said:

Although there is epidemiological evidence for a statistically significant association between processed meat consumption and bowel cancer, it is important to emphasise that the size of the effect is relatively small, and the mechanism is poorly defined.

It is certainly very inappropriate to suggest that any adverse effect of bacon and sausages on the risk of bowel cancer is comparable to the dangers of tobacco smoke, which is loaded with known chemical carcinogens and increases the risk of lung cancer in cigarette smokers by around 20 fold.

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