Bacon, Hot Dogs, Other Processed Meats Linked to Cancer, World Health Organization Says

Nick Offerman on Parks and Recreation
The World Health Organization said on Oct. 26 that bacon and other processed meats may increase the risk of colorectal cancer  Byron Cohen/NBC

Say it ain't so. The World Health Organization delivered one heck of a blow to meat lovers everywhere on Monday, Oct. 26, when its International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) revealed that processed meats like hot dogs and bacon can cause colorectal cancer.

According to the IARC's press release, there is "sufficient evidence" that processed meat is "carcinogenic to humans." It falls into the agency's Group 1 carcinogens, which also includes tobacco products. 

Dr. Kurt Straif, head of the IARC Monographs Programme, said in the release that the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of processed meat "remains small" for an individual, but "this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed." Specifically, each 50-gram portion eaten daily increases the risk by 18 percent, according to the experts.

The consumption of red meat, meanwhile, falls into Group 2A, meaning it's "probably carcinogenic to humans." Red meat includes "mammalian muscle meat such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat." 

Dr. Christopher Wild, director of IARC, noted that the most recent findings "support current public health recommendations to limit intake of meat." He also acknowledged, however, that "red meat has nutritional value."

Not surprisingly, carnivores on Twitter weren't very happy with the news.

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