PCRM Urges Action in Response to Major Study on Link Between Colon Cancer and Meat
A major study published in the January 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the more red and processed meats people eat, the greater their risk of cancer in the distal portion of the large intestine.
Although previous studies have shown similar associations, the large study population (nearly 150,000) and the long duration of the study (two decades) make this one of the strongest cases against meat in many years.
The day the study was published, PCRM nutritionists called on public health officials and Congress to take immediate action based on the study’s findings. Said PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., “Often, new research studies simply beget more research. But given what we now know about the impact of meat consumption on colon cancer risk, it’s critical for our government to take action now.”
PCRM made the following recommendations, which were quoted in several major news outlets:
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services should remove meat products from the list of recommended foods in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and the Food Guide Pyramid. They should also specifically warn against the consumption of these products.
- The USDA should remove meat products from the list of subsidized foods in the National School Lunch Program and other federal nutrition programs and replace these products with more healthful protein sources, including beans, lentils, soy products, and meat analogues.
- Congress should audit the other means by which the federal government subsidizes meat products as the first step in discontinuing such support.
- The meat industry should be held financially responsible for a measure of the colon cancer incidence in the meat-eating population—as the tobacco industry has been—for its contribution to lung cancer.
PCRM Online, February 2005