Food Safety Advocates: Processed Meat Should Have Cancer Warning Labels

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed a petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service requiring colorectal cancer warning labels on certain meat and poultry products.

The petition states: "scientific research has led to the conclusion that processed meat and poultry increases the risk of colorectal cancer."

Processed Meat Is "Carcinogenic To Humans"

 In 2015, International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that processed meat is "carcinogenic to humans".  CSPI executive director, Michael F Jacobson, said: "Consumers deserve these warning labels to help them make informed choices about the foods they eat.  Consumers who want to reduce their cancer risk may avoid processed meats or eat them much less often; other people may simply ignore the label. But without question, USDA should give people that choice."

Only Some People Are Aware That Eating Processed Meat Poses A Risk For Getting Cancer

In Australia, a survey was conducted about people's awareness on what contributes to cancer, and only half of the survey participants said that they are aware of the risks of processed meat. 

 Wendy Watson, the Nutrition Programs Manager of Cancer Council NSW, said: "When we surveyed people earlier this year about their understanding of risks contributing to cancer, around 90 per cent of people understood that smoking and sunburn increased the risk but only 50 per cent were aware that processed meat was a risk for bowel cancer."

"We have evidence that processed meat is a risk - and it's something that people can act on.  We're not saying you should never eat processed meat - if you enjoy ham at Christmas then eat it but think of it as a food you eat on special occasions like we do with turkey. It's the continuous long-term consumption of processed meat that's the problem," Watson added.

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