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Processed meats cause cancer, says WHO

news release

Commenting on the report today by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which concludes that processed meat causes cancer and red meat is a “probable carcinogen”, Friends of the Earth’s senior food campaigner, Clare Oxborrow said:  “This should be a wake-up call that our diets urgently need to change.

“Evidence shows that high meat diets not only harm our health, they damage our environment too.

“Experts have warned that unless we eat less meat globally, we will fail to meet our climate change targets.

“Polls show that consumers are willing to eat less meat, and now this research should shake the Government into bold action.

“The Government should do more to help people access healthy, sustainable diets, with less and better quality meat.”


Notes to editors:

1. IARC Monographs Volume 114: Evaluation of consumption of red meat and processed meat, published today in The Lancet Oncology.

2. Research for Friends of the Earth in 2010 showed that eating meat no more than three times a week could prevent 45,000 early deaths a year (including almost 9,000 from cancer), and save the NHS £1.2 billion.

3. Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to issue new guidelines for healthy, sustainable diets with a clear recommendations on the benefits of replacing some meat with plant proteins like pulses and beans, and avoiding processed meats altogether. It should also ensure that all food provided for schools, hospitals and care homes meet this standard.

For press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust

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