## Processed meat is Group1 carcinogen, yet prevalent

• 9
Processed meat is classified as Group 1 carcinogen yet we see fast food chain at every alternate street. What's going on? Lobbying by food industry?
• 663
Lobbying by food industry?

I don't think hamburgers and hotdogs (animal products in general) need a lobby. They taste so damn good.

Even a plant based diet is filled with potential/likely carcinogens. What is the relative risk of a serving of peanut butter (with ppm aflatoxin residues) to that of sashimi tuna ( with IGF1 promoting factors and mercury). I also love cocoa but the plant naturally takes up considerable amounts of cadmium from soils.
• 1.6k
I don't think hamburgers and hotdogs (animal products in general) need a lobby. They taste so damn good.

This.
• 9
That's like saying - people love the thrill of speed, lets remove brakes from cars. The evaluation, assessment and guidance of governments/society should be more thoughtful - don't you think?

Yes I do agree that traces of pesticides and other harmful compounds is also present in other food substances. As a matter of fact they are prevalent since few decades of human history, since we have engineered and industrialized our methods of agriculture/supply-chain. What now becomes important is the amount of these trace substances that is potentially harmful (hence we have regulatory bodies/FDA and also the rise of organic/non-GMO food stuff). The WHO list I mention is precisely that list of identified harmful substances - feel free to go through it (few links below).

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-the-carcinogenicity-of-the-consumption-of-red-meat-and-processed-meat
• 8.9k
Hamburgers are red meat rather than processed meat. It's ham and bacon that you should avoid. Red meat is in group 2a: probable carcinogen.
• 4.7k
The carbs and cheap oils will kill you first.
• 9.2k
• 9
Didn't get your point. Are you saying the above lists are incomplete? I understand it may not be fully feasible to test every foodstuff and the research relies on scientific methods of sampling/statistics. While that surely may be the case, what my original point is that once identified that xyz substance is hazardous, what should be the plan of action. Are we not at odds with this information as a society due to prevalence of class1 carcinogen?
• 947
Undoubtedly alcohol and tobacco are quite hazardous, but people are free to consume them if they wish. I like to be informed about hazards, not forbidden. Choose your poison.
• 73
nah it just tastes good, and honestly I would classify living as group 1 carcinogen
• 9
Sure I am pro for free choice. No doubt we want a free society and economy. Nonetheless, doesn't the 'informed or forbidden' plan of action deals with 1s and 0s/all in or fold? Are you saying it is always black and white and nothing in the greyscale?
• 5
This is a really interesting topic for me. I'm ethically vegan and have been for just over 2 and a half years.

I never make the case for veganism based on health grounds. There are plenty of 'vegan' diets that are filled with junk foods. You could definitely argue for a wholefood plant based diet which is arguably one of the healthiest diets you can maintain, but veganism is not healthy in and of itself.

In terms of the point the OP made about the prevalence of red/processed meat in our society despite the growing knowledge about the health implications. I think the culture industry, propagated by powerful advertising and marketing strategies has such a powerful influence over the subconscious purchasing choices of the average consumer that they will continue to purchase these products despite the risks. And of course the products are made to be extremely savoury, usually by adding additives and flavourings which only often only add to the health risk.

Of course, the group most at risk are the working class (or least paid class of people), which only makes the problem all the more tragic.
• 4.7k
My point is that it is processed food, not just processed meat, that is the problem. Too much soybean oil, corn syrup and refined starch. And the supermarket aisles are as bad as the takeaways for peddling the junk.
• 5
From a health perspective, this is absolutely true.
• 9
No, the problem you mention is too generic - something like 'Technology - boon or bane' or etc. Development in industrialisation, globalization, engineering, free commerce, marketting, supply chain, etc.; coupled with growing population and material demands, have made processing and packaging essential. I don't think we can now live without it.
Without digressing there, the original point is given we are now down this path, doesn't the ground level data of prevalence of (in this case) processed meat which is already identified and confirmed carcinogen, seem problematic?
• 10.8k
It's fat.
• 947
Are you saying it is always black and white and nothing in the greyscale?

People resist having rights taken away from them. Should we have the right to enjoy things that are harmful to us and may eventually cost society extra in health care, etc? Maybe not, but that's the way it is now, and there will be a hue and cry if we try to legislate these costly freedoms away.

Hopefully succeeding generations will simply lose interest in unhealthy enjoyments. Education seems to me to be the key.
• 4.7k
No, the problem you mention is too generic

Nonsense. If you are concerned about health at the personal level, stop consuming any processed/industrial food. And if you are concerned about health as a social policy issue, then taking processed meat out of the food chain is about 5% of the problem.

doesn't the ground level data of prevalence of (in this case) processed meat which is already identified and confirmed carcinogen, seem problematic?

Obesity is a worse actual cause of cancer.

I'm not here to champion the cause of processed meat but being a "class 1 carcinogen" only means it definitely does cause cancer. It doesn't say whether that is a lot of cancer or just a little cancer.

And when it comes to food industry lobbying - which is a very serious issue - consider what they actually spend all their money on.

This source says the processed food guys spent $4.5m to the soda makers$24m in the US over a similar period.

Check out Robert Lustig if you are interested in the bigger story.

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