International Organizations

WHO cares about bacon? Body to slap cancer label on meat: Daily Mail

Farmland's hickory smoked bacon. Farmland is a brand owned by Smithfield Foods Inc.
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The World Health Organization may be about to make itself a lot of enemies, especially among carnivores.

To the gastronomic horror of many, The Daily Mail reported this week that the WHO is set to list beef, bacon and sausage alongside cigarettes and asbestos as cancer causing agents. Although red meat has long been linked to a list of ailments, the publication said the health body is expected to go further than most scientific studies, by saying processed meat actually causes cancer.

According to the report, the decision is due on Monday, and comes on the heels of a meeting of scientists from ten different countries that reviewed a broad array of data.

A representative for the organization, contacted on Saturday by CNBC, declined to comment, saying the WHO's full report would be available on Monday.

For decades, doctors have said red meat has carcinogenic effects. One recent study suggested that a sugar molecule found in beef, lamb and pork could be a trigger behind inflammation, and causes cancer tumors to grow.

In America alone, pork consumption is worth an estimated $23 billion in gross sales, according to the National Pork Producer's Council. The organization states that more than half a million jobs are connected to the harvesting of pork, and that the world's largest economy exported 2.2 million metric tons of pork last year.

Similar concerns have contributed to the rise of health conscious, organic meats free of additives and antibiotics.

The full report can be found on the Daily Mail's website.