LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Hot dog makers and meat sellers said a report released Monday that processed meat such as hot dogs and ham can cause cancer is a bunch of baloney.
According to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, a daily 50-gram portion of processed meat – the equivalent of about two slices of ham – increases the risk of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer by 18 percent.
The WHO reported 22 experts from ten countries took part in the study that involved analyzing decades of research.
USC Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine Mariana Stern, who was one of the 22 panelists, said the findings carry a lot of weight.
“One study shows one thing. Another study shows another thing. This comes from a comprehensive evaluation of more than 900 studies all together,” said Stern.
“To put that into perspective, the lifetime risk of colon cancer is 5 percent. If you have a hot dog every day, your risk goes to 6 percent. So it’s very, very small,” cancer specialist Dr. David Angus said.
Processed meat was described as meats that have been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking and other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation, with examples including hot dogs, ham, sausages, corned beef and beef jerky.
The report also addressed red meat, classifying it as “probably carcinogenic to humans” based on limited evidence.
“At the same time, red meat has nutritional value,” Dr. Christopher Wild, Director of IARC, said in a statement.
According to the report, grilling, pan frying or cooking red meat at high temperatures produce the highest amounts of chemicals suspected to cause cancer.
Allen Dence, the manager at the Pink’s Hot Dogs in the Fairfax district does not buy it.
“Stuff like that comes out over the years. It scares people,” Dence said.
Pink’s customer Brandy Criss said: “That’s ridiculous! Everything causes cancer.” She said she eats eats hot dogs five times a week, and her habit will not change.