## Processed meat is Group1 carcinogen, yet prevalent

• 11
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?
• 674
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.
• 11
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.
• 4.8k
The carbs and cheap oils will kill you first.
• 9.2k
• 11
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?
• 975
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.
• 105
nah it just tastes good, and honestly I would classify living as group 1 carcinogen
• 11
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?
• 4
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.
• 4.8k
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.
• 4
From a health perspective, this is absolutely true.
• 11
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.
• 975
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.
• 4.8k
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.

• 1.6k
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?

You didn't include any of my quoted text and I'm afraid I don't know what you're referring to. The last thing I wrote in this thread was to agree that meat tastes good. I suppose your remark could refer to that. I myself prefer individual choice to State mandate, all things being equal. That puts me on the libertarian side of things. I might even go so far as to say that people like the thrill of speed, so let's have autobahns without speed limits. I'd certainly go that far. That's a better analogy than removing brakes.

I believe people should be allowed to jump out of airplanes if they make an informed choice to do so. That doesn't mean I'm opposed to parachutes. It does mean I'd oppose a government ban on recreational skydiving. I hope that analogy is clear.
• 11
If you are concerned about health at the personal level, stop consuming any processed/industrial food.

This, I believe, is nonsense. Do you mean you have a solution in today's age to live with self-made foodstuff/produce? You suggest that to get a decent/safer meal, one must have their own cows for dairy, cocoa farm for chocolate or seed pressing machines for oil extraction, etc?

Obesity is a worse actual cause of cancer.
Sure, this only adds to my original point I think, except obesity is a symptom. Much like known carcinogens (like in processed meat) cause cancer, obesity surely could be tracked to increased sugar content in food processing or overall easy access to manmade high sugar foodstuff in the past century.

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.
Well, excess of anything is an issue for human body - I don't see what you want to convey here. Prevalence of processed meat, the ease of their access at insanely low prices in fast food joints seems like a huge issue.

I didn't intend to anyways limit to processed meat, it is simply a concrete example to discuss then general issue at hand. Thinking out loud for some solutions - may be for specific 'identified' harmful foodstuffs, enforcement of replacement with fresher alternatives might be a good option. This would likely increase the cost to the end customer slightly but would this not be a better option for the overall community?
• 11
I believe people should be allowed to jump out of airplanes if they make an informed choice to do so. That doesn't mean I'm opposed to parachutes. It does mean I'd oppose a government ban on recreational skydiving. I hope that analogy is clear.
Let me draw a picture on this analogy to what seems to be today's situation. We have many companies that are giving these airplane rides for you to jump. And overtime, to reduce their costs and maximize their market share, they are going into risky areas like choosing target jump spots like jumping over a volcano or over the poles. Data and stats (over multiple decades) are now showing that chances of survival of the person when they finish their jump and land at these places are slim; even if they survive they are hurt. Given this situation, what would you (say as a community) do on this situation? Do nothing? Ban? Something in the middle?
• 4.8k
Do you mean you have a solution in today's age to live with self-made foodstuff/produce?

Is this a language issue? Processed means that it is packaged food off some kind of factory production line as opposed to you buying the raw ingredients and making the meal. It if comes in a packet or jar, it’s processed.

So you don’t need to own your own cows. But you do want to avoid cheese that sprays out of a can.

This would likely increase the cost to the end customer slightly but would this not be a better option for the overall community?

Sure. My point is only that the problem goes deeper. The food industry peddles junk designed to be bliss point addictive. And society pays the cost in terms of massive chronic illness.

So definitely the food industry ought to be better regulated. Or hit with a tobacco like class action sooner rather than later.
• 1.6k
Let me draw a picture on this analogy to what seems to be today's situation. We have many companies that are giving these airplane rides for you to jump. And overtime, to reduce their costs and maximize their market share, they are going into risky areas like choosing target jump spots like jumping over a volcano or over the poles. Data and stats (over multiple decades) are now showing that chances of survival of the person when they finish their jump and land at these places are slim; even if they survive they are hurt. Given this situation, what would you (say as a community) do on this situation? Do nothing? Ban? Something in the middle?

I'd let them sign a waiver acknowledging every bad thing that ever happened; absolving the jump company of legal responsibility except in a proven case of their negligence; and then I'd tell them to enjoy their jump.

I would also allow an adult of sound mind to use heroin, cocaine, and meth. I would stiffen the heck out of driving laws to take impaired drivers off the roads, starting with the drunks who are the real drug problem in this country. But when it comes to individuals doing things that don't impact the health or safety of others, I say let adults make their own decisions. Have you seen the statistics on American deaths related to alcohol? Appalling. They tried outlawing beer once. Led to the rise of organized crime. There are no easy answers.

I admit your scenario is a little far out there. Skydiving is statistically pretty safe. If there was some sport where people died 99% of the time, I'd ban it. I'm a small-l libertarian but I have my limits.
• 6.6k
Going out on a limb here but I think the OP isn't about invidivual freedom vs state control as much as it's about exposing the cognitive dissonance lurking beneath - normal people are deeply concerned about their health and the quality of the health services they have access to but their approach to important health issues, processes meat for instance, supports a different conclusion viz. that they don't give a shit about their health. It's the philosophical equivalent of a contradiction - points to something fishy going on.
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