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Processed meat is carcinogenic, red meat might as well: WHO

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-26 21:29

Processed meat is carcinogenic, red meat might as well: WHO

Bacon, sausage and processed meats, are 'carcinogenic to humans', said a report of the World Health Organisation (WHO). [Photo/IC]

PARIS - The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans, the IARC said Monday.

The conclusion was made based on "limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect," said IARC in a statement.

However, processed meat is classified as carcinogenic to humans, based on "sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer."

According to the statement, each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

"For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but the risk increases with the amount of meat consumed," said Dr. Kurt Straif, head of the IARC monographs program.

Given the large number of people consuming processed meat, Straif thinks "the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance."

As for public health, Christopher Wild, director of IARC said "the results are important in enabling governments and international regulatory agencies to conduct risk assessments in order to balance the risks and benefits of eating red meat and processed meat."

The evaluation of the consumption of red meat and processed meat was made by a working group of 22 experts from 10 countries who considered more than 800 studies.

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