British panel reviewed all evidence linking red meat with colorectal cancer and reassessed risks in terms of actual cases and how much red meat people should be eating.

April 13, 2018

2 Min Read
New publication injects balance into red meat/cancer debate

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) released its preliminary report into possible links between consuming meat, including processed meat, and cancer, there has been a steady stream of conflicting statements and alarmist articles from the mainstream media, according to an announcement from the British Meat Processors Assn. (BMPA).

As often happens, the desire for attention-grabbing headlines can, in some cases, obscure the full facts surrounding a subject, BMPA said. Some news articles have singled out individual parts of the research without offering the full context, which, in turn, has resulted in some fundamental misunderstandings among consumers, the association said.

When it comes to diet and nutrition, it is particularly important to make sure that people don’t make potentially harmful changes to their diet based on a lack of information or a misunderstanding of the facts, BMPA said. While it may be right for some people to moderate their consumption of certain foods, others could be making the choice to change their diet completely for the wrong reasons.

BMPA said the U.K.'s Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board recognized the need for a more balanced and clearer presentation of the facts surrounding red and processed meat and has produced a new publication titled “Red Meat: Cutting Through the Confusion.”

The publication is the work of the U.K.'s Meat Advisory Panel, a group of independent — and impartial — expert dietitians, scientists, cancer specialists and general medical practitioners.

BMPA said the panel reviewed all of the evidence linking red meat consumption with colorectal cancer and reassessed the risks in terms of actual cases and how much red meat people should be eating. The booklet provides a clear overview of the WHO findings and other scientific research, offers an appraisal of the risks and also looks at the evidence surrounding meat avoidance.

The booklet may be of particular interest to meat processors and manufacturers who engage directly with the public as well as with retailers, BMPA said, and can provide clear, balanced information to contribute to their marketing and promotional activities.

"Red Meat: Cutting Through the Confusion" can be downloaded here.

BMPA is the leading trade association for the U.K. meat and meat products industry.

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