CANADA - A food scientist with the University of Manitoba suggests a recent report by the cancer agency of the World Health Organization has hurt its credibility, writes Bruce Cochrane.
A report released in October by the International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled red meat as probably carcinogenic and processed meat as carcinogenic to humans.
Dr Rick Holley, a food safety and food microbiology professor with the University of Manitoba, notes the recognition that the agency did not consider new evidence and that this is a new opinion rather than results of new research has impacted the acceptance of the report.
Dr Rick Holley-University of Manitoba:
People are not easily hoodwinked these days and, while the report deals with carcinogenicity hazards associated with processed meats, the issue of the extent of the risk I think was not clearly communicated by the agency and was somewhat misleading.
In some of the early stories you see that parallels were being drawn between smoking and eating bacon and clearly the risks associated with the two activities are extremely different with smoking carrying risk levels that are something like 2,500 percent greater level of risk than eating processed meats.
Alcohol is about 500 times more risky than eating processed cured meats and these things didn't come out within the context of what the level of risk associated with the consumption of processed meats were and that was unfortunate for the agency.
If you go through the more recent news reports I think the perspective has changed considerably from the original release of information by the agency.
Dr Holley says it appears the agency is not being viewed with the same level of respect as it has in the past.
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