Look away now carnivores.
Days after meddling scientists told us that bacon reduced fertility in males, now the World Health Organisation has besmirched sacred cuts of meat some more, naming processed meats including bacon, sausages and ham as products with most evidence of cancer risk.
Part of a new report from the health body’s International Agency for Research, it now ranks the likes of hot dogs as group one carcinogens, concluding that each 1.8-ounce portion of processed meat eaten daily increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent.
So high are the levels carcinogens of fact, the rest of the substances in this group one category read like an A-Z of danger: Asbestos, arsenic, coal, HIV type 1, hormonal contraceptive, ethanol from alcoholic drinks, formaldehyde, radioactive substances including Plutonium, X-ray and gamma radiation.
Serious stuff then, and according to Professor Tim key, Cancer Research UK’s epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, the Daily Mail-esque fuss really is warranted:
“[We support] IARC’s decision that there’s strong enough evidence to classify processed meat as a cause of cancer, and red meat as a probable cause of cancer,” he told The Guardian.
Yes, bad news for anyone hankering for a guilt-free steak tonight: red meat has also been flagged up by the WHO as posing significant bowel cancer risks, along with pancreatic and prostate cancer, and now finds itself under group two, in which substances are deemed ‘probably carcinogenic’.
“We’ve known for some time about the probable link between red and processed meat and bowel cancer, which is backed by substantial evidence,” added Key. “This decision doesn’t mean you need to stop eating any red and processed meat. But if you eat lots of it you may want to think about cutting down. You could try having fish for your dinner rather than sausages, or choosing to have a bean salad for lunch over a BLT.”
OK, scant consolation but at least we're still able to gorge on fish for seven days of the week without thinking that our meal could be slowly killing us.
Best get stuck in before they reclassify that too.