The World Health Organization has released a report linking bacon and other processed meats as a major cause of cancer.
We have long heard of a link between cigarettes and cancer, but now a new report places bacon, hot dogs, salami, and other processed meats on the same level as asbestos, alcohol, arsenic and tobacco.
Bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer, and red meat likely causes cancer, the World Health Organization announced today. In a new report, the global health agency rewrites their health guidelines on meat consumption, ranking processed meats as group 1 carcinogens, alongside cigarettes and asbestos.
The new investigation involved 22 scientists who were invited by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer to assess the association between more than 16 types of cancer and the consumption of red meat and processed meat.
Over the course of seven days in early October, the scientific panel examined more than 800 epidemiological studies from the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia and elsewhere. The scope covered multiple ethnicities and global diets, according to the report which was published today in the journal Lancet Oncology.
The WHO group “classified consumption of processed meat as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ on the basis of sufficient evidence for colorectal cancer.” Colorectal cancer is the second most lethal form of cancer in the U.S., causing nearly 50,000 deaths per year. Processed meat was also linked to a higher incidence of stomach cancer.
The news does not bode well for industry leaders or the average American consumer if the report’s findings hold true. According to Alltech, the average American consumes 18 lbs of bacon a year, which is 5,608,654,506 lbs of bacon for the entire nation.
And according to the North American Meat Institute:
In 2013, more than 482,100 workers were employed in the meat and poultry packing and processing industries. Their combined salaries total more than $19 billion.
Through its production and distribution linkages, the meat and poultry industry impacts firms in all 509 sectors of the U.S. economy, in every state and every congressional district in the country.
In all, companies involved in meat production, along with their suppliers, distributors, retailers and ancillary industries employ 6.2 million people in the U.S. with jobs that total $200 billion in wages.
Through direct taxes paid, these companies and their employees provide $81.2 billion in revenues to federal, state and local governments. The consumption of meat and poultry generates $2.4 billion in state sales taxes.
The meat and poultry industry’s economic ripple effect generates $864.2 billion annually to the U.S. economy, or roughly 6% of the entire GDP.
In 2014, meat and poultry industry sales totaled $186 billion.