Processed Meats Too Dangerous to Eat, Cancer Link Confirmed

I was shocked to learn that respected cancer research organizations have been publishing studies since 2005 documenting the link between processed meat and cancer.  The University of Hawaii study of 2005 “found that those who ate the most processed meat had a 67% increased risk of developing the disease compared to those with the lowest intake. (BBC).  Then in May 2011, the blog of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reported “Processed meat is so strongly linked with colorectal cancer that no one should ever eat it, according to a new report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research.”  More recently, in 2012, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) concluded “Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption.

What is wrong with the mainstream media been that such important health information was not widely disseminated?  I only learned yesterday when a Facebook friend published a link to a recent blog post reprinting an article from a 2012 article by The Institute for Natural Healing.  The information seems so important that I am reprinting large excerpts from the article.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has completed a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer.1  Bottom line: Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption. Consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives.

Processed meats include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and virtually all red meat used in frozen prepared meals. They are usually manufactured with a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite.2 This is used as a color fixer by meat companies to turn packaged meats a bright red color so they look fresh. Unfortunately, sodium nitrite also results in the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the human body. And this leads to a sharp increase in cancer risk for those who eat them.

A 2005 University of Hawaii study found that processed meats increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67 percent.3 Another study revealed that every 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent.4 These are alarming numbers. Note that these cancer risks do not come from eating fresh, non-processed meats. They only appear in people who regularly consume processed meat products containing sodium nitrite.

Sodium nitrite appears predominantly in red meat products (you won’t find it in chicken or fish products). Here’s a short list of food items to check carefully for sodium nitrite and monosodium glutamate (MSG), another dangerous additive:

Beef jerky, Bacon, Sausage, Hot dogs, Sandwich meat, Frozen pizza with meat, Canned soups and frozen meals with meat, Ravioli and meat pasta foods, Kid’s meals containing red meat, Sandwich meat used at popular restaurants, Nearly all red meats sold at public schools, restaurants, hospitals, hotels and theme parks.

If sodium nitrite is so dangerous to humans, why do the FDA and USDA continue to allow this cancer-causing chemical to be used? The answer, of course, is that food industry interests now dominate the actions by U.S. government regulators. The USDA, for example, tried to ban sodium nitrite in the late 1970′s but was overridden by the meat industry.5 It insisted the chemical was safe and accused the USDA of trying to “ban bacon.”

Today, the corporations that dominate American food and agricultural interests hold tremendous influence over the FDA and USDA. Consumers are offered no real protection from dangerous chemicals intentionally added to foods, medicines and personal care products.

References:

1 http://dietandcancerreport.org/expert_report/recommendations/recommendation_animal_foods.php

2 http://voices.yahoo.com/sodium-nitrite-processed-meats-causes-cancer-2522974.html?cat=5

3 http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=15642&news_iv_ctrl=0&abbr=pr_

4 http://organicconsumers.org/foodsafety/processedmeat050305.cfm

5 http://today.com/id/16361276/ns/today-food/t/things-you-need-know-about-deli-meats/

The American Institute for Cancer Research, of which I was previously unaware, has worked for 30 years supporting research and public education about the relationship between diet, nutrition and cancer (unlike better known cancer societies which seem to focus on finding cures).  The American Institute, along with similar organizations in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and the Netherlands, are partners in the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International .  I only wish this group, or some other, would devote funds to researching environmental causes of cancer – I can’t help but believe that all the chemicals and other pollutants in the air we breathe and the water we drink are major contributors to cancer.

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