Why is the World Health Organisation Anti-Meat?
The soft leather seats and bustle of the coffee shop belied the importance of the meeting. It was going well so far, skipping along with nods and positive noises, and then everything changed. Upon hearing some of my recommendations, the healthcare consultant, with eyes wide, hugged his knee like a life raft and recoiled at the back of his seat. He recovered, leant in towards me and, locking his eyes to mine, said with absolute finality,
‘Tim, the World Health Organisation, has classified red meat as a carcinogen.’
In 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO), published a report produced by their International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It was notable because of its classification of red and processed meats. Publishing a summary in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, they stated:
‘After thoroughly reviewing the accumulated scientific literature, a Working Group of 22 experts from 10 countries convened by the IARC Monographs Programme classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A), based on limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect. This association was observed mainly for colorectal cancer, but associations were also seen for pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.’
Notice please they have not classified red meat as a carcinogen, but have called it ‘probably carcinogenic’. As far as the average Joe is concerned there is no difference because the words that weaken the statement — made bold in the quote above — are hidden in the shadows of extremely frightening words; ‘red meat causes cancer in humans, strong mechanistic evidence, carcinogenic effect’ and again, ‘cancer, cancer, cancer’. Hypnotic, isn’t it?
The word ‘probably’, mentioned just once despite it changing the meaning of almost the entire paper, offers them an escape when the time comes. And, make no mistake the time is coming because their evidence against red meat was not sufficient to condemn it, and had it been on trial, red meat would have been free to roam once again.