WHO report on meat – Should Schools And Hospitals Opt-Out Of Carcinogenic Products?


There is no more compelling evidence than message-boards this week to demonstrate that many New Zealanders like eating meat. We don’t like being told what to do and we like our freedom of choice! But we can’t claim to be truly free to make informed decisions unless we are willing to meaningfully engage in discussions on the healthiness of meat beyond personal preference. In a country where 100 Kiwis die of bowel cancer each month (more than prostate or breast cancer combined) most of us would be shocked to discover the little-known fact that New Zealand has the highest rate of bowel cancer and death in the developed worldAccording to Bowel Cancer New Zealand “Bowel cancer is New Zealand’s cancer” and our most common cancer irrespective of gender. 3000 kiwis are diagnosed every year and our attitudes toward meat-eating likely play a significant role in these negative outcomes.

The good-old Kiwi barbecue gives most of us strong, nostalgic beach-time feelings, but we ought to pay attention to the World Health Organisation recommendations because those findings are more relevant to us than people in almost all other countries. When it comes to the health of our kids we need to deal with this information soberly; it’s no joke. I can’t help but imagine the outcry if the causes for breast cancer were treated with such widespread flippancy.

This week – as you are no doubt aware – the World Health Organisation informed us that processed meat is carcinogenic. This isn’t new information, it’s been long known that processed meats such as sausages and bacon are indeed carcinogenic – few have debated this – not even the meat producers in New Zealand, nor our own Cancer Society. This time the WHO also included red meat as ‘likely carcinogenic’ which if you take your time with the science you’ll find it’s really compelling – and complex! There is disagreement but the collaborative group reviewing the literature took their time and do have a foundation to make this claim. If you’re interested in reading more you can check out the BBC commentary written by Cochrane on the issue, or you can read the media release from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) or investigate the specific studies the IARC reviewed – namely studies with “controlled designs, large sample sizes, and/or used quantitative dietary data culled from questionnaires”. But while it’s generally agreed that the exact mechanisms aren’t known, this doesn’t make the WHO’s conclusion an example of junk science. It’s not intellectually or socially responsible for outraged members of the public, or lobby groups, to make that claim. It’s interesting that despite claims made by biased lobbyists who like to dominate public opinions, PR people paid by the meat industry to discredit the WHO or members of the public who love meat, the science itself is okay.

There are of course plenty of funded pro-meat studies carried out by meat lobbyists in New Zealand and overseas dedicated to the sole purpose of discrediting the work of any group that dare bring up the issue of the negative impacts of meat eating. Lobby groups across the world openly talk about “fighting” these  findings, but to what end? To make money? Yet one thing about the WHO that is beneficial to New Zealanders (and indeed world health) is that it’s an important part of their charter to remain an independent body and able to make independent calls that aren’t influenced by financial gain and motivated lobbyists; their single motivation is to improve global health. Even the most meat-loving person in the world has to agree that it’s not necessarily an unbiased source when Beef & Lamb come out saying there is “little evidence” for an association between meat fats and cancer.  That isn’t ethical of them and we all know it. I mean, of course they would say that! And there is no question that meat and dairy production are of key importance to our economy. It’s also not surprising that our government which directly benefits from income created by these primary industries shows little interest in action. But what we are missing out on when we allow them to dominate the narrative is we actually do have a right to know what is harmful, how harmful it is and what we ought and ought not do for family health, and that information should be responsibly disseminated through public health initiatives to properly inform us, not swept under the rug and laughed at (I’m looking at you too, Newsmedia). We have a right to transparency and reviews that put people (not profits) first. Given this it’s not good that Beef & Lamb or even the Ministry of Health nutritional guidelines currently recommend products without including balanced appraisals that clearly state potential risks. It’s not OK to only include half of the story in our most referenced and important public literature on diet. It’s OK to ask for labels on these products that clearly inform us of the risks. If you agree that we have a right to make our own informed decisions, then what is the harm? The MoH have work to do, that’s for sure.

In regards to meat here are the facts. Processed meat is carcinogenic but not as carcinogenic as smoking. Sunlight is also carcinogenic and as the Cancer Society states there are also benefits to sunlight exposure. Food though, is kind of different to sunlight so that argument seems disingenuous coming from them. Some sun is important for health, but ‘some processed meat’ isn’t important for health and it’s questionable if ‘some red meat’ is important for health when there are so many nutritious alternatives without any cancer risk. The truth is some people like to eat meat, but that doesn’t make it ‘important for health’ or ‘necessary’. It’s quite interesting that a hefty bulk of advertising content in New Zealand has historically made the false claim that meat, and even dairy, are “vital” for health when this is not a fact. Meat and dairy profiteers are routinely caught out making this claim which is simply untrue. In fact studies are now seeming to indicate that the recommendation for dairy too has been vastly over stated and there are serious medical risks to consuming so much calcium on a daily basis, though few groups have chosen to relay that information. It’s quite shocking to hear Kiwis talk about cancer as though it’s just an inevitable fact of life when these guidelines are specifically formulated with the express intention of reducing the frequency of preventable cancers. As New Zealanders we should be particularly grateful to the WHO because of how this specifically concerns us. As adults we have choices and as long as people let us have access to truthful and important information we can make our own decisions. Without that free flow of honest public health information we can’t make informed decisions, and in this hush-it-down-for-money environment kids especially can’t.

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Lots of parents will deny that there is any problem with any meat product as we have seen over the last few days on the internet. Even our own telly stations will make a joke about the issue and laugh about consuming 4x the safe amount of this food with little regard for how ridicule impacts upon the serious issue of bowel cancer. And this is where as a community we do have to ask, in fact demand, that the health of our children is supported. We all try to do the best by our kids but it’s not always easy and it is the role of community organisations to at least make basic decisions to ensure children are safe. Even if the government doesn’t get involved it’s a simple and important act for schools to opt-out of offering carcinogenic food to children when there are a wide variety of options available that are not in any way dangerous to health. I would similarly argue that it’s important kids aren’t offered/given sugar in the same way. The issue is that kids eat what the adults they trust offer and if they’re hooked on bad foods they’ll almost exclusively choose to consume them. If parents keep feeding kids processed meat supposedly “in moderation” (which we really need to be honest – the moderation side isn’t happening in homes or schools) when there are legitimate alternatives available that don’t cause cancer that’s kind of like saying kids should have cigarettes “in moderation”.  And that analogy is indeed sound because it really doesn’t matter if it processed meats are less carcinogenic, processed meats are still significantly carcinogenic and massively over-consumed in this country that has terrible, terrible bowel cancer stats. There are no needs fulfilled by processed meat that can’t be fulfilled in other ways and this brings me to another dimension to this discussion, the cumulative effect of what is eaten at home and at school combined.

It’s simple. Removing these products from hospitals and schools will not detrimentally effect the overall economy and that’s a spurious claim. They will not detriment children or patients in any way, there are many delicious, nutritious foods that aren’t carcinogens. There are plenty of New Zealand made brands and imported brands of saussies for sausage sizzles that are not made out of processed or red meat. There will only be benefits and that includes reducing the total load that some kids may have on their bodies when they’re getting carcinogens at school and at home. And this is why I feel the Cancer Society have failed us. They know that saussies and bacon are regularly over-consumed meats, they also run sausage sizzles to gain funds. The Cancer Society are not advocating to protect the public health with an honest appraisal of the scale of the issue in New Zealand as they should. Sure, this discussion is mostly about the elephant in the room that Beef & Lamb and the pork producing federation would never, ever admit, that our values – our good ol’ kiwi values which have been manufactured and nudged along by crafty advertisers – and our love for meat has lined their pockets and likely resulted the third highest rates of bowel cancer in the OECD, but the issue extends beyond cancer alone. Because the truth is it’s not just bowel cancer that’s the issue, obesity is at epidemic levels and these choices place a great strain on the public healthcare system and affect lives. Ask anyone who’s lost family members to such cancers, it’s no nice thing.

Take a minute to consider this: a healthy society cares about kids and adults. And medical facilities have an  moral obligation to acknowledge the cultural issues at play and ensure the foods they’re offering patients are SAFE foods, especially to adults and children in heart wards, adults and kids with diabetes and most importantly those with cancer, but in all honestly, to all of those under their care. Their primary function is to support good heath and giving cancer-causing foods to patients is simply against their basic purpose.

It’s genuinely alarming when private-interest groups like Beef & Lamb – who are obviously biased, reject all of the independent science, and are also rich enough to manufacture their own studies – get to take pride of place and visit schools to promote their products as ‘healthy’ while pretending the negative impacts are untrue and it’s simply a case of “balance”. The “balance” message is failing, and that’s because they don’t want balance, they want to make money. It’s also disturbing to see them feed kids free processed meat burgers and dance around in costumes telling kids how great the stuff is without any intervention or independent critique from schools. A schools function is to teach facts and to foster independent, rational and reasoned thinkers; kids who know how to take care of their health. Children are vulnerable at that time and so these private corporate interest groups should not be permitted to do that.

We have a very neo-liberal, right-wing government right now who state that government shouldn’t be making decisions about what kids eat in schools – or at least that’s what they claim – that health decisions are up to parents, but by allowing financial interests to rule an open space that they facilitate with their hands-off approach and letting wealthy corporates like Beef & Lamb dominate the sphere (and the conversation) they are taking a specific stance, supporting a specific set of problematic values and indeed making a decision. And the decision is this, that health is a low priority where there’s money to be made.

So beyond the joke of ‘mmm, bacon’ let’s start to talk more about what’s really going on.

I get that it’s tasty to many people, just as heaps of people like smoking ciggies. I didn’t stop eating meat because I didn’t like the taste, I stopped for environmental reasons and for reasons of health; to reduce the cancer and diabetes risk to myself and my son, because like many New Zealanders we’re in a high risk ethnic group with stomach cancer, throat cancer, breast cancer and diabetes in our immediate family – and because I came to feel that animals have a right to not be enslaved and slaughtered by industry for private financial gain, especially not when the resultant products are non-essential and cause environmental and physical health problems. Beyond taste I genuinely believe we have a responsibility to think about children and make basic, easy decisions that fortify their health for the future, and allow them to be adequately informed so that they can go on to protect the health of their kids too.

As a parent I make decisions for my own health that aren’t always the best, but I want to make sure the decisions I make for him are nothing but the best. Though I might add, in taking care of him I learn to take better care of myself, and someone once said, “Your children won’t treat themselves as you treat them, they’ll treat themselves as you treat yourself”, so I guess in that regard my respect, love and care for him is teaching me something too. I try to show him what’s best for him through living it and doing my best at being consistent. I am not perfect and I don’t think any parent is. I’m not a health guru. I have studied nutrition at University and I don’t get it right all the time. But I’m working on it, because he deserves it and genuinely, so do the other kids out there.

I would like to see a new wave of responsibility taken by hospitals, schools and healthcare providers and I think parents should push for schools to opt-in to provide a carcinogen free environment. I believe it is genuinely unethical of hospitals to simultaneously seek to heal people while feeding them carcinogens. Especially when there are plenty of healthful alternatives that also fulfill the requirement for good taste. I’d like to think I’m capable of thinking beyond what meat lobby groups and advertisers tell me, and I hope that schools do start to consider their place as public educators and become aware that they have a part to play in children’s health by -simply – removing carcinogenic menu items.


  1. Thank you for writing an informative, well informed and logical article about this issue.
    This is an issue that urgently needs to be taken seriously. The fact that the WHO combed through 800 peer reviewed studies shows that it’s not something to be taken lightly and is not a knee jerk reaction.
    The sooner we stop harming animals, the healthier and happier we and the planet will be.

  2. Totally agree with what you are saying. As a cancer survivour, you do what you can to stay cancer-free and as a mother I do not want to increase the chances of my child developing cancer just because it ‘tastes good.’

  3. Schools and hospitals definitely need to take meat off the menu, especially sausages where they are more concerned about fundraising with animal sausages than kids health and there is a healthy alternative – vegan sausages! They can be halal, vegan so dairy free, egg free and vegetarian, making it something nearly everyone can eat!

    • Is it still a sausage if it doesn’t have meat in it?
      Like a hamburger without meat. No wait that’s a salad roll.

            • Really? Meat eh? I remember the day I stopped eating sausages. I was up a ladder painting the ceiling and couldnt be naffed climbing down to change the station when some farming programme came on. It was all about what bits of the animal get ground up to go in the sausage. Yuck yuck yuck! No wonder sausages have to be ‘processed’ so much….chops don’t for example…it’s because of the disgusting revolting bits inside them. Want to stop your children eating these cancer tubes? Show them what’s in them.

        • @ Frank Macskasy: “Since when do sausages have real meat in them?”

          Last I looked, sausages are by law required to have at least 50% meat. They are in fact a very good source of meat.

    • NZ red met is not monitored for Volatile Organic Chemical (VOC)residues inn the tissues of the meat!!!!

      So unlike Canada’s Ministry of Agriculture we are not protected from the Chemical toxin build-up here as is not Tested by our Agriculture Dept’ in “Clean Green NZ” – bah! what a joke.

      • Americans eat on average 800 grams of meat a day. Kiwis are lucky to eat 400 grams. So unless we eat bacon for breakfast, ham for lunch, sausages for dinner 7 days a week, we’ll have more chances catching cancer from the sun.

        As soon as WHO said caramelised meats with a brownish tinge causes cancer, I fell out with science.

      • Hundreds of cancer researchers took part in a five-year project spanning more than 7,000 clinical studies and designed to document the links between diet and cancer. Their conclusion, published in the World Cancer Research Fund’s report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective (2007), has rocked the health world with a declaration that all people should immediately stop buying and eating processed meat products and that all processed meat should be avoided for life!

        Processed meats, the report explains, are simply too dangerous for human consumption. And why? Because they contain chemical additives that are known to greatly increase the risk of various cancers, including colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, brain tumors, pancreatic cancer and many more. The report, published at this DietAndCancerReport.org website also recommends that consumers:

        Here’s the difference:

        Fresh meat usually has only one ingredient: The meat! Fresh meat is refrigerated and has a very short shelf life (just a few days, usually). It’s usually packaged in simple wrappers, with no fancy logos or colour printing.

        Processed meat has many ingredients and is usually packaged for long-term shelf life. These products almost always contain sodium nitrite, the cancer-causing chemical additive that meat companies use as a colour fixer to turn their meat products a bright red “fresh-looking” colour. Processed meat products include:

        • Bacon
        • Sausage
        • Pepperoni
        • Beef jerky
        • Deli slices
        • Hot dogs
        • Sandwich meat (including those served at restaurants)
        • Ham
        • Meat “gift” products like Christmas sausages
        • Meat used in canned soups
        • Meat used in frozen pizza
        • Meat used in kid’s lunch products
        • Meat used in ravioli, spaghetti or Italian pasta products

        Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/022288_sodium_nitrite_processed_meat.html#ixzz3ptL4qfUY

        Learn more:


        • Wow. That’s a list of all the shitty foods I see fat people buy.

          You can tell a fat persons trolley. It’s all frozen stuff warped in cardboards.

          But I would never summon the inquisition and give that lady a lecture about the way she eats.

          Cancer treatments are all about the potential quality of life, treatment plans can give patients. Just for peace of mind.

          This study puts all the risk onto consumers and about fuck all on food manufactures.

          I like science. But come on. There are 4 million plants and animals out there, 4 million different ways of staying alive.
          Food is the guilty pleasure, not the devil.

      • @ Clean Green. I agree . I do a lot of traveling as part of my work and once, while driving up the Clutha Valley, I saw cows and calves and ewes and lambs grazing on dead, poisoned grass. Whole fields are sprayed with ‘ Round Up’ which contains glyphosate, a chemical that is said to be carcinogenic. But the peddlers of Glyphosate aren’t satisfied with just having farmers spray fields with poisons, they spray the road sides as well, which of course will run into our waterways, like the largest river by volume in NZ . The Clutha.
        The reason? To make re sowing easier without the need to cultivate the land.
        The reason for that ? Because cultivation is expensive .
        Why ? Because farmers are unimaginably debt burdened and have to try and be as cost efficient as possible? ( While having fancy little corporate men whispering in their ears who work for the mercantile firms who sell the poisons. ) Why is that? Because the Farmers Masters, the neo Nat-Zies have paved the way for Banks to control agriculture . Why ? Because our agriculture is our primary industry and its bi product , like cancerous meats is a tradable commodity and is therefore manipulated by the likes of jonky , a currency trader.
        To all you people out there who will be diagnosed with bowel cancer this year . Who do you blame ? Jonky. and his Bankster Buddies .

        @ H . Shove that in your Machiavellian Confederate and logical fallacy stuffed small goods. I think the meat you talk of is in fact between your ears, not in your sausage .

  4. It always comes down to money with these ‘industries’ be it the ‘beef & lamb” industry, pork industry or any other. The same defences came up with the ‘food industry’ when a sugar tax was discussed.
    “Nothing wrong with the product, it’s all about choice, blah blah blah”
    If the stuff is detrimental to human health, then at least put a warning on it, I say.
    On the up side with processed meat, it’s all so expensive now, I can hardly afford to buy it anyhow.

  5. Wonderfully written article capturing all the facts. It is vitally important we adapt to this new information brought to us by the world health organisation and make appropriate changes to protect and promote the health of everyone.

  6. Carcinogen free?

    Everything is a carcinogen.

    Just ask any “expert”, especially those that rely on statistics (which “prove” everything) and committees (like WHO) who are subject to sustained lobbying by assorted lobby groups, and reach a “decision” by “consensus”.

    WHO makes Seb Blatter look like a saint.

    I await WHO coming to a consensual decision that the only safe pork to eat comes from flying pigs.

    • Funnily enough, my statistics teacher used a similar study as an example of why you always need to look at their figures and the calculations a few weeks ago.

      In this case: “Red meat increases chance of colon cancer by 20%.
      A bit of digging reveals that the ‘base’ chance of getting colon cancer is 5%. So eating lots of red meat means that your chance of getting colon cancer is …… 6%.

      Not very life-threatening. It will change my behaviour. I will add some grapes with my steak and drink red wine.

    • And who received funding from Coca Cola. The WHO has lost a lot of credibility over this ‘study’. When you read the detail, the data doesn’t actually show what they claim it does. That makes me wonder why they are presenting it to inaccurately portray a vegetarian agenda. Perhaps they’ve been infiltrated by the likes of PETA. At least the meat producers put their name to their articles.

  7. i am all for individuals making choices based on their knowledge.

    our local hospital (palmy) has taken the ‘healthy’ step of removing drinks with sugar in them from the vending machines.

    and replaced them with… artificially sweetened drinks.

    get ya nutrasweet, phenylanolins, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), saccharin, and advantame, here.

    two things: why do hospitals have to have vending machines? = income.

    who will pay for the damage inflicted by the toxins that monsanto peddle?

  8. As a bowel cancer survivor who has had numerous surgical operations, chemotherapy and radiation, I wholeheartedly agree with this article and the associated comments. The amount of poor quality food products on the market are killing us, and the expensive prices for good quality fruit and vegetables is bad news for society.

    NZ has some of the highest rates of bowel and breast cancers in the world, this is directly related to the consumption of meat, dairy and processed foods.

    Unfortunately this current Governments is eating out of the hands of the corporate sector and will not lift a finger, the current Minister is a Doctor and can’t see it, so what does that tell you about the current state of New Zealand and the Health system. Obviously every thing is fine by the current Governments standards, we have high obesity rates in children because they are eating shit food because it is cheap.

    • [Gosman, I emailed you a week ago after you requested I contact you. You have not had the courtesy of replying to me nor advising me on The Daily Blog’s message board acknowledging the effort I made to write to you. If I don’t receive an explanation in the next 24 hours why you’ve wasted my time, I’ll be handing out a month-long vacation for you. -ScarletMod]

      • I have received no such e-mail. I have checked my hotmail account a number of times over the past couple of weeks. Perhaps you should attempt to send it through again. Alternatively you might want to see if the other Contact methods on this blog are set up correctly as I have attempted to use those before and have had no luck.I could also give you another e-mail address but I would prefer not to do so publically.

        [Sent. – Scarletmod]

  9. Food is actually medicine, so the hospitals should be feeding patients high quality fresh fruit and vegetables and easily digestible food products to get the patients healthy as quickly as possible to reduce hospital costs. It is basic cost/benefit analysis.

    I wouldn’t feed hospital food to my pet dog?

  10. A response from someone more balanced:


    “However, looking at these tables for more insights it struck us that the number of deaths in the high intake of red meat and processed meat categories is very low. There are only 79 cancer deaths in the highest processed meat category compared to 2223 in the lowest”

    I’ve selectively quoted, but then so did the WHO in their press release.

    Personally, I would rather hospitals fed our sick people real food, including meat, than the processed rubbish (that is actually quite low in red mead) that is currently provided. Vegetarian processed food is just as bad a meaty processed food.

  11. I’d be wary of ascribing too much credibility to WHO research – their work on Ebola suggested serious issues with methodology, and even more serious issues with undeclared conflicts of interest around the shares in vaccine manufacturers.

    That said, avoid over indulgence in processed food on principle, and always remember than cheap meat products are cheap for a reason.

    • it is a meta-study…a report on over 800 other pieces of research..

      ..more ‘credibility’ than you can poke a stick at..

      ..and the fact of the matter is that ‘good’ meat is only marginally less carcinogenic than the processed dead-pig so many are addicted to..

  12. an excellent piece of writing/journalism jesse…(i wish i had done it..i have been flailing/raging impotently at the tidal waves of denial/liars that have followed this report..)

    in fact yr work is so good..i would urge it be entered for journalism-awards..

    ..i am old enough to remember the first warnings around smoking-ciggies..(when it was weird not to smoke..)..and the echoes are clear and present..

    ..back then there was a brief shock/horror pause..and then the wholesale denial we are also seeing here..defiant cries of ‘you’ll tear my cigarettes/(bacon) from my dead/cold hands..and them everyone fired up another ciggie…

    ..and this denial has been across the board…from the deeply ignorant (the hosts/journos on story etc etc….to the supposed leading-thinkers..(finlay macdonald gave the dead/cold/hands/bacon response..russel brown blocked me on twitter for calling out his pig-ignorant sneering..)

    ..and for those who think this meat/cancer link is something new..um..!..no..!..(it speaks to my failures that i have been presenting/arguing these facts for years and years..with absolutely no traction gained).



    this is not new news…

    and what is astonishing me about these supposed thinkers we have here..is (as you touched upon) is their insistance on continuing to instill that dual animal-flesh/dairy addiction in their children..(keeping in mind we are the bowel-cancer capital of the world..)

    w.t.f. r they thinking..?..denial so deep/wide it is mind-boggling..

    ..and to that idiot further up the thread who said he would rather die @ 80 and continue to eat his processed meat..you should have been with me a couple of weeks ago..

    ..i went to the funeral of my pacific island neighbour..a man who all his life had inhaled tinned corn-beel etc..

    ..he was in his mid-forties when he died..from bowel-cancer..

    ..as i said at the top..this is good/fine work you have done..jesse..’gods’ work’..if you will..

    (it brought a tear to my eye..)..and of course i shall link to it..

    ..much respect to you..

    • as a disclaimer of sorts..i have in the past been addicted to tobacco/alcohol/heroin/cocaine/crack/barbiturates/animal-flesh/dairy..

      (pot is the only intoxicant i use..)

      ..and as at the moment i am having a break from marri-waana..i am pretty clear..

      ..i stopped eating animal-flesh over 30 yrs ago..and dairy/bye-products about 15 yrs ago..

      i note this to make the case i am a minor-expert of sorts on addictions..and how to recognise them..

      ..and the reactions of most to the animal-flesh/cancer link..is like a smack-head being told his stash is being taken away..and he/she can’t have any more..

      ..face it people..you are addicted to this shit..

      (just as you are addicted to that other known carcinogen..alcohol..)

      ..y’know..!..can’t get thru the day/nite without at least one ‘cold one’..eh..?..unthinkable..!..

      ..socialising etc. without alcohol..?..unthinkable..!..eh..?..)

      ..and one aspect of having been addicted to all these substances is that i ave also experienced how hard they are to kick…

      ..and i hafta say..having heroin @ 10 on a scale of withdrawal difficulty..

      ..’giving-up’ animal-flesh/bye-products ranks @ about 1 out of 10..

      ..so really..i have a complete lack of respect for those who think it would be ‘too hard’ to give up these cancer-causing addictive animal-flesh ‘foods’..eh..?

      ..you are fucken piss-weak..!

      ..end of story..

      • Phil you are honest and a straight shooter. Giving up the toxins takes getting over the habits and cravings for what has taken hold.

        We all have things that dictate to us following a learned pattern. Addictions are hard to change yet can be easy to go along with. The battle to shake free is a battle indeed, and mostly fought inside the head.

        Denial and justification are the signs of running away. The most righteous are constantly on the run. Putting others down is their way of propping themselves up.

        As Jessie has so eloquently outlined, the profit makers care not for people and will create hell for individuals from an very young age and right through their lives.

        The greatest highs come from the beauty of morning sun and good freshly grown food, honesty and an open mind.

        ” It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
        Mahatma Gandhi

  13. Yet another neurotic parent?
    Ban fireworks, ban risky activities, ban this restrict that!

    I am 67 years old and have been eating bacon and sausages all my life, later in life I discovered the joys of good charcuterie, yum yum.

    Is there a connection? probably!
    What is the real risk / degree of causality? Probably very low!
    There is hardly a food type that’s not had some carcinogenic link found.

    • I’d support a ban of personal use of fireworks. I’m not quite your age, Thinkaboutit, but I’ve seen my fair share of fires, freaked out pets, injured children, etc, to know it’s a waste of time and money. Putting mini-explosives and other gunpowder products in the hands of drunken idiots isn’t what I call a good idea.

      Even fireworks used by responsible adults can have disastrous consequences during heightened periods of dry weather.

      Nah, ban the damned things. With few exceptions, public fireworks displays are far safer.

    • Cancer is a growth of aberrant cells with DNA damage which may be a result of changes due to environmental carcinogens or faults in new cell growth. A healthy immune system deals with cancer.

      When animals products and many processed foods damage the immune system then many things can go wrong.

      Particularly animal protein is linked with cancer cell growth while plant protein is not. The immune system is extremely complex and many studies are confined to tiny aspects producing findings that cannot be generalised – but usually are by media and fiscal interests.

      Hence we get seemingly contradictory health information daily.

    • Two thoughts come to mind

      Firstly: Cancer is caused by mutating genes. Some mutations can be passed on at birth but most mutation occur after birth for reasons that include but is not limited to smoking, obesity, radiation, viruses, chemicals, hormones inflammation, the Australian Cancer council has a list. I linked the Aussie one cause it’s the first link that came up on google–


      Secondly: Agricultural Eve: (my quick google search brought up no references, so you’ll have to take my word for her) Agricultural Eve is a woman from the Middle East around ten thousand years ago. She was the first to discover seeds sprouting in rubbish pits, from this discovery Agricultural Eve was able to secure a wheat crop, with the Newley secured food source and over supply made it possible to raise live stock and poultry. Because proximity of humans to farming and agriculture, Agricultural Eves discovery is responsible for half our cancers and to a lesser extinct all other diseases.

  14. I gave up eating meat 30 years ago for a number of reasons.
    I also believe it is unhealthy for a species with the intestinal tract of a vegetarian. The cruelty metered out to farmed animals is appalling, I know, I have carried it out growing upin the Waikato.
    In NZ our primary climate change gas is methane of which 90 % is burped out by ruminants.
    If you want to slow down our climate change catastrophe stop eating meat, it will help slow down the armageddon.

  15. so..in summary..’caring’ leftie/greens who still eat/are addicted to animal-flesh/bye-products.. don’t care about three things (that you think they would..were they walking their talk)..

    1)..they don’t care about the hideous/short/brutal lives lived by the animals they eat..and the suffering they endure..

    (what i call acd-syndrome..animal-cruelty-denial syndrome..)

    2)..they don’t care that the animal-flesh they are addicted to is carcinogenic..despite such glaring/blaring facts as nz being the bowel-cancer capital of the world..(could we call that cd-syndrome..?..cancer-denial-syndrome..)

    3 )and (despite their fucken ‘green’-preachings)..they clearly don’t care about the environmental costs of their addiction..(40% of our greenhouse gas emissions are from the animals they eat…)

    which all begs the question:..how the fuck can they possibly self-regard as ‘caring greenie-lefties’..

    ..they are all fucken bullshit-on-a-stick…

    (green party/greenpeace bbq..?..anyone..?..)

    • It’s cute you have assinged numbers to illustrate your points. But your comments are contradictory.

      Like with Tobaco propaganda campaigns, Tobaco companies had to pay out millions / billions in settlements because it could be proven that tabacoo companies new there products are harmful to humans. But lied about it.

      The same now applies to food manufactures. This WHO report if enforced must have immediat results on advertising, no more green pastoral fields doting packaging. Better food handling practices and tracking.

      Otherwise this WHO report will go on the other pile of industry generated reports.

  16. I’m not surprised NZ is the bowl cancer capital of the world.

    You can get an anti vascular drug in Aussie that is very good at fighting bowl cancer. You can’t get it in NZ.

    Does progress and prosperity matter to those that moch western standards. Yes it does. Prosperity really matters.

  17. Great article, thanks. I have never been a fan of processed meats (or anything else) but I am not a vegetarian, nor do I plan on becoming one. I do not eat much meat, even when I can afford it, but there are times when my body actually craves meat.
    At the end of the day, I doubt that there are few products that could not be considered carcinogenic, and it wouldn’t be prudent to blanket ban the stuff. People need to be educated, not only on the effects of different foods/products, but to also be in mind that every body is different – our chemical structure, etc are very different from one individual to another.
    I recently read a report that stated by 2017, an estimated 70% of the USA population would be lactose intolerant. Not merely because of wheat itself, but because of genetic modification to that wheat.

    Food for thought.

  18. “… the World Health Organisation informed us that processed meat is carcinogenic. This isn’t new information, it’s been long known that processed meats such as sausages and bacon are indeed carcinogenic -”

    We need to take a cautious approach to this information. It’s worth pointing out that bowel cancer rates are lower in Europe – and in some European countries, quite a bit lower – despite the fact that people there have been eating processed meats for a millennium at least. We have family in Central Europe: boy, do they lo on ve their salami, sausages of a multiplicity of varieties, and cured meats!

    Of course people can go vegetarian if they wish; but it’s important to remember that it can be difficult to keep up B12 levels, and to avoid anaemia, on a vegetarian diet, unless it is carefully planned. This applies even more to children.

    Humans are adapted to be omnivores: our dentition is evidence of that. And humans have a deep history of preserving meat and other foods. All things – including meats, processed or otherwise – in moderation.

  19. Why no edit function? Am I correct that there used to be one on this site? I wanted to edit my previous comment, but it’s vanished into moderation (I assume). Sigh…

  20. But while it’s generally agreed that the exact mechanisms aren’t known, this doesn’t make the WHO’s conclusion an example of junk science.

    Oh, it’s worse than junk science, it’s social science.

    Processed meat is carcinogenic but not as carcinogenic as smoking.

    Even if we take the claims about risk at face value (which we shouldn’t, because they’ll be grossly exaggerated), saying processed meat is “not as carcinogenic as smoking” is like saying a fireworks display isn’t as damaging as an atom bomb. You’re going to die of something, and if eating bacon, ham and salami really do alter the odds of what will kill you by a fraction of a percent, why would you give a shit?

    I didn’t stop eating meat because I didn’t like the taste, I stopped for environmental reasons and for reasons of health; to reduce the cancer and diabetes risk to myself and my son…

    Diabetes has nothing to do with eating meat. Type 1 is an auto-immune disease and Type 2 is a disease of insulin response, for which the prime suspect is foods that prompt an insulin response, ie carbohydrates. If anyone’s told you it has something to do with eating meat they’re talking out their arse.

    • Oh, it’s worse than junk science, it’s social science.

      What do you base that on? WHO conducts research, and whilst we might not like the results, I doubt they’re plucked out out of the ether for someone’s amusement…

      You’re going to die of something, and if eating bacon, ham and salami really do alter the odds of what will kill you by a fraction of a percent, why would you give a shit?

      It also depends on how you’re going to die. Passing peacefully in your sleep, or a wild hedonistic party in a bordello is probably preferable to rotting away away from bowel cancer or somesuch.

      I guess they used the same “you have to die of something” argument when it was finally determined that tobacco and lung cancer are inextricably linked.

      Type 1 is an auto-immune disease and Type 2 is a disease of insulin response, for which the prime suspect is foods that prompt an insulin response, ie carbohydrates.

      And consuming sugar in just about every processed food product on supermarket shelves. I now need to avoid 90% of foodstuffs on sale. But yes, simple carbs like white bread is a no-no.

      If not, there is blindness to look forward to; amputation of toes or fingers; heart-attack, or worse, a stroke that’d leave me no better than a paralysed turnip. There goes my blogging… (Something which a few National/ACT types might dance a little happy-jig over, I guess.)

      It may not be much fun learning that our favourite fatty-protein animal by-products are unhealthy for us, but them’s the breaks.

  21. What do you base that on?

    The fact that the research isn’t scientific, as in “the scientific method.” Because there isn’t any practical way of conducting scientific experiments on human food consumption (not while there are ethics committees and human rights legislation, anyway), this research necessarily uses the social sciences method: ie, conduct surveys or other types of studies, look for correlations in the results, form theories to explain the correlations and carry out further studies.

    There are two relevant problems with that:

    1. Social science in practice usually involves starting with an agenda and looking for evidence to support that agenda. That’s not a good basis for achieving reliable results.

    2. The social science method itself invites researchers to make correlation = causation errors and then let confirmation bias ensure that future studies support that correlation = causation error.

    Basically, nothing that any organisation, reputable or otherwise, tells you about particular foods causing disease is worth the paper it’s written on.

    I guess they used the same “you have to die of something” argument when it was finally determined that tobacco and lung cancer are inextricably linked.

    I expect they did. However, smoking increased your chances of getting lung cancer by thousands of percent – the scariest figure the anti-meat crowd have been able to come up with is 18%, which is either statistically insignificant (if you share my views on the value of the social science method used to achieve that figure), or a ridiculously low increment on your absolute risk of getting bowel cancer (if you don’t share my views). Either way, there’s nothing in it to justify giving up meat if you like eating meat.

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