New Meat MythCrusher video addresses meat and cancer

The North American Meat Institute and American Meat Science Association have produced new Meat MythCrusher videos, addressing many of the common consumer misconceptions about meat and poultry relative to cancer.

The newest video discusses the commonly reported myth that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found 800 studies linking red and processed meat to cancer. The video features Andy Milkowski, Ph.D., adjunct professor, department of animal sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who explains that the actual number of studies considered was a fraction of the 800.

“They started with 800 studies, but then they had to sift and winnow through those studies in order to determine which ones were really relevant to the questions they were asking,” said Milkowski. In the end, only 32 of those were truly applicable, some of which showed a statistical association between meat and cancer and some of which showed no link, according to Milkowski.

The final IARC abstract released in 2015 cited 18 studies on processed meat and colorectal cancer, with 12 of them showing some statistical association and 14 studies on red meat with only seven of them indicating an association between red meat consumption and colorectal cancer. The resulting confusion led to a follow up from the World Health Organization (WHO), which oversees IARC, clarifying that red and processed meat can play a role in a healthy, balanced diet.

“They said that because this was a hazard assessment and not a risk assessment and there are many nutritional benefits of meat, people should not be overly concerned. They should eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle,” said Milkowski.

The video also explains the difference between hazards and risks, and what kind of information can be learned from each type of assessment.

The Meat MythCrusher video is the 51st in the series. Other topics include myths surrounding meat nutrition, antibiotic use in livestock, “Superbugs” in meat, Meatless Monday, hormone use in animals, ammonia in ground beef, grass-fed beef and more.