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Red and Processed Meat causing Cancer – WHO


28 October 2015

For Immediate Release

Red and Processed Meat causing Cancer – World Health Organisation Report

It’s been known for many years that there is a link between red meat and processed meat consumption and certain cancers. It is reassuring that the World Health Organisation has evaluated the numerous studies around this subject and is confident enough now in the correlation to issue a statement of warning to the public.

Dr Christopher Wild, Director of IARC, states “At the same time red meat has nutritional value.” While this is true, is it also true that humans can live healthily without meat of any kind. All the nutrients necessary for human health can be derived from a plant-based diet. *1

This being the case, it is interesting that authorities are so reluctant to recommend a vegetarian or vegan diet.

It would seem that the resistance from such a large proportion of the population to not eating meat is such that it’s almost inconceivable to recommend not ingesting red meat, a “probable” carcinogen with strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect” *2.

Yet in the light of all these studies, and with the knowledge that we do not yet know all the possible impacts of meat on human health, it seems prudent to recommend a significant reduction, or preferably complete avoidance, of meat consumption.

The NZ Vegetarian Society is available to provide help and support to anyone wanting to reduce or eliminate meat and/or other animal products.

Go to to download a free Information Booklet. Further tips and advice in monthly instalments is delivered upon new membership. This includes information on which nutrients to pay particular attention to and where to find plant-based sources of them.

*1 It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.
J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Jul;109(7):1266-82.

*2 World Health Organisation, International Agency for Research on Cancer Press Release 26.10.15

- Ends -

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