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WHO’s IARC’s new target: Red meat, which may be classified, along with glyphosate, as carcinogen

| | July 31, 2015
Standing rib roast
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

In March, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) made headlines when it declared that glyphosate, one of the world’s most commonly used herbicides, “probably” causes cancer in humans.

But in October, the organization is expected to issue a report on a much bigger target: meat. And the industry is bracing for the worst.

“It’s our 12-alarm fire, because if they determine that red and processed meat causes cancer—and I think that they will—that moniker will stick around for years,” Betsy Booren, vice president for scientific affairs at the North American Meat Institute, said at a recent conference, trade publication Meatingplace reported. “It could take decades and billions of dollars to change that,” she added.

Eating too much red meat has been linked to health problems including shorter lifespans, heart disease, and various kinds of cancer. In April 2014, the IARC cited studies linking red and processed meats to colorectal, esophageal, lung, and pancreatic cancer, and called determining the connection a “high priority.” Since then, the organization has been collecting information to make their final determination.

Related article:  Chemophobe activists vilify glyphosate, herbicide less toxic than many 'natural' alternatives

The IARC classifies substances on a scale of 1 (“carcinogenic to humans”) to 4 (“probably not carcinogenic to humans”). Booren said a 2B designation, or possibly carcinogenic to humans, would be “a win for our industry.” Glyphosate was classified as a 2A, probably carcinogenic to humans.

There are many substances used in daily life that get a 2A or 2B classification, including chemicals used to fry foods and even coffee. But what really matters for anything classified as potentially or probably carcinogenic are amounts.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: The World Health Organization is expected to say red meat is linked to cancer

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