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February 2016 Issue

Processed Meat is Linked to Higher Cancer Risk

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that sufficient evidence indicates processed meats, including bacon, sausages, and hot dogs increase cancer risk, specifically colorectal cancer. This report places processed meats in the category “carcinogenic to humans,” alongside tobacco and alcohol. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a cancer agency for WHO comprised of experts from 10 countries, reviewed decades of research, and concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat (equivalent to about two, thin 1-ounce slices of ham) consumed per day increases risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. Thus, they recommended limiting processed meat intake. The report also declared red meats as “probably carcinogenic,” but did not make specific guidelines on red meat consumption at this point.

International Agency for Research on Cancer, October 2015