Beef Industry Questions Group's Dietary Recommendations

May 25, 2011 04:18 AM

Just in time for summer grilling season, the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research released an update on a cancer report that claims consumption of both red and processed meat increase bowel cancer risk.

The report, released as part of World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research’s Continuous Update Project (CUP), examined links between bowel cancer risk and diet, physical activity and weight, and updated their controversial cancer findings of the WCRF/AICR’s 2007 Expert Report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective.

WCRF’s original 2007 report was based upon very weak findings and many contradictions, and was questioned by many groups, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer, points out the American Meat Institute. 

“While WCRF is claiming these studies strengthen their recommendations, in reality, they simply increase the report’s shortcomings,” said American Meat Institute Foundation President James H. Hodges.  “Adding more weak studies to a weak report does not make a ‘strong, comprehensive and authoritative report’ as they claim.”   He noted that a close look at the 10 additional studies that were added to the 14 analyzed as part of WCRF’s 2007 report show no strong evidence of any increased risk of bowel/colorectal cancer.  

In a statement, NCBA nutritionist Shalene McNeill says, “WCRF’s judgments overreach the science on red meat and cancer. Americans should continue to build healthier diets with beef knowing the scientific evidence to support the role of nutrient-rich, lean beef in a healthy, balanced diet is strong. Nothing in this update should change the way Americans consume beef. In fact, Americans are consuming beef well within WCRF’s 500 gram (18 ounces) per week recommendation. As a scientist, registered dietitian and a mother, I will continue to recommend lean beef to Americans trying to build a healthier plate because of the unique package of nutrients and enjoyment it brings to a healthy diet.”

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