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.







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.


GOP Principles = Decrimininalizing Drugs?

Conservative blogger Kavon Nikrad argues that decriminalizing drugs is a sound application of  GOP principles of small government and, furthermore, would help the GOP increase it share of young voters and black voters.

Conservatives used to argue that the federal government cannot fix cultural problems through social-engineering legislation. That argument was right, and the results of the Drug War are living proof of it. It is time for the Republican Party to take the lead in ending this failed policy. It’s good for families, it saves money, and it will engender a new perspective on the humanity of drug users.

Nikrad points out that heavy emphasis on drug arrests since the time of Nixon have not reduced drug use, although costing billions of dollars.  He cites the case of Portugal to show that decriminalizing drugs and treating addiction as a public health issue is much more successful.

Slightly over a decade ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs, choosing instead to treat the matter as a public health concern. The result has been a staggering 50% decrease in estimated number of addicts, as well declining rates of overall drug use and drug-related diseases.

It is heartening to see a conservative concerned about racial discrimination resulting from government action.  Nikrad notes that “Despite comprising only 12% of the population, 62% of those who are sent to state prisons for drug offenses are black. Black men are sent to prison for drug offenses at 13 times the rate of white men.”

He urges the GOP to advocate for decriminalization.  “This is Big Government at its worst and most discriminatory. Where are Big Government’s supposed opponents when racial minorities need them? Republicans should stand up for the black community and call for an end to the failed Drug War.”


Kavon Nikrad, “Opposing the war on drugs: Good policy, good politics,” Star Tribune, April 18, 2013, P. A13. Reprinted in Kavon Nikrad’s blog of 4/17/13 under title “It’s Time for Republicans to End the Failed, Immoral Drug War.”  Online at

West Bank water seized by Israel

Great infographic from Visualizing Palestine in honor of U.N.’s World Water Day (March 22).  The Israeli government, which controls the Ramallah acquifer located in Palestine’s West Bank, allocates only  70 litres a day for each Palestinian.  The majority of the water is reserved for Israelis – 300 litres a day per Israeli.  Note that the World Health Organization says 100 litres per day per person is the minimum for good health.  (Click on photo to enlarge and read everything – original is 2000 pixels wide.)

Burpee does NOT sell GMO seeds

Just learned today that the Burpee Seed company does not sell GMO (genetically modified) seeds.  I hadn’t known this until I saw a link posted by a friend on Facebook.  The owner of Burpee explains that it produces solely for the home gardener.  In the past, when one of its seed breeders decided to develop tomatoes for the commercial California growers, Burpee and this guy soon parted ways because Burpee not interested.  “Mr. Burpee did not wish to breed for any consumer other than the home gardener and the small, local farmer,” writes the current owner.  I was glad to learn that Burpee avoids the tough skinned, cardboard tasting tomatoes bred for the large scale California corporate vegetable growers as well as avoiding GMO seed. I will be paying more attention to Burpee seed catalog in future for possible purchases for my garden.

Source: George Ball, Burpee Chairman and CEO,  “Burpee, GMO And Monsanto Rumors Put To Rest” (no date).

Video: Reconciliation in Kenya

The film below documents one project aimed at building reconciliation after inter-ethnic violence following the 2007 election in Kenya. Kenyan Patrick Mureithi made this documentary about the “Healing and Rebuilding our Communities” workshops held in a slum area of Nairobi which experienced some of the worst violence of 2008. This moving film lets us share the emotions of both victims and perpetrators as they struggle to come to terms with what happened and how they can build a more peaceful future. Be sure to click the “Show More” button at YouTube to read the full press release about the film and its remarkable director.

BACKGROUND: As Kenyans get ready to vote tomorrow (Monday, March 4, 2013) in elections for President and Parliament, we all hope that the violence following the 2007 elections will not be repeated. That election featured 2 presidential candidates, each representing a different, but large tribe. When the results were announced, the loser claimed that the voting was rigged. Supporters of each candidate took to the streets in mass demonstrations which turned violent with people wielding machetes and burning down villages. Over 1,000 were killed and half a million rendered homeless.

The horrors of this post election conflict led to many reconciliation initiatives and projects to prevent a recurrence including the Alternatives to Violence Project Kenya (illustrated in this film) – a Quaker initiative of the Friends Peace Teams. Other projects include Uchaguzi to aggregate & map citizen reports of election violations.

For more info, see “Kenyan Patrick Mureithi Hopes New Film Will Deter Violence After Elections” by Paul Nolan, Wall Africa, Feb. 28, 2013.  The article also describes the no-cost Faster EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) for relieving anxiety. This no-cost technique of tapping on certain pressure points on the body is a boon in a country with few psychiatrists and little access to mental health services.

Cans of Spam Still Popular

Cans of Spam can be found in 40% of U.S. households, says a Star Tribune article of 7/23/12. I must lead a very sheltered life – I’ve never met a person with Spam in their household. Article goes on to say that Spam and canned chili produce most of Hormel’s revenue. Spam is also identified as a “high margin” product, so worthy of the new advertising campaign.

When I posted this on Facebook, one of my old college classmates commented “We had Spam at home. My mother liked to fry battered Spam for meals.”

Another friend wrote:

SPAM is so popular in Hawaii, one can buy it in Sears. During WWII, US Armed Forces turned the locals on to canned meats. SPAM prevails today. I do not have SPAM, but my mother does.

Medical Procedures Cost More In U.S.

My brother called my attention to the chart below. Really explains why health costs are so high in U.S. (such a large percent of GDP, with $9,000 + premiums for families). My brother  writes that “The chart says the source is the Federation of Health Plans, so I presume the costs given are the amount of reimbursement that plans pay, not the nominal cost.” Nominal cost is what an uninsured person paying cash would be charged (always higher than what an insurance company pays for same procedure).

SourceLet’s Fight the Right’s Facebook Page