Doubt on the meat and cancer hypothesis

by Editor
Monday, August 11, 2008

A panel of government, university and industry experts speaking at a leading food safety conference cast serious doubt on widely reported claims of a meat and cancer connection. The timely symposium was held at the International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

“All too often, claims that meat is linked to cancer are made as if they are proven fact. But today's panel presented compelling evidence the 'conventional wisdom' is not always current or accurate”, said AMI Foundation President Randy Huffman, Ph.D.

David Klurfeld, Ph.D., national program leader in human nutrition at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service, provided an extensive critique of the 2007 World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) Report, released in the U.S. by its affiliate, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). While AICR made dramatic claims in a November 2007 press release that its report found a "convincing link" between red and processed meat and colorectal cancer, Klurfeld noted that a careful read of the 500-page report and its companion 2,334-page systematic literature review shows that the report does not support the press release's dire warnings.

Huffman underscored that fresh and processed meats offer important nutrition benefits including protein, essential vitamins, minerals, protein and amino acids. Eating meat also contributes a feeling of satiety, and new research shows that low-carbohydrate/high protein diets are more effective in weight control than simply reducing calories.