Cancer-Causing Foods Don’t Belong in Schools

The Physicians Committee

Cancer-Causing Foods Don’t Belong in Schools

Processed meats—like hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, sausage, and deli meats—are staples on many school lunch lines. 


But according to a recent report from the World Health Organization, processed meats are “carcinogenic to humans.” The authors highlighted a meta-analysis that found an 18 percent increased risk for colorectal cancer per 50 grams of processed meat—the equivalent of one hot dog or two strips of bacon—consumed daily. 

Despite the scientific consensus about the cancer risks associated with processed meats, they are still widely consumed in the United States, especially by children. A recent study published by the National Cancer Institute found that colorectal cancer rates are on the rise among young people, due to low-fiber diets, high consumption of processed meats, and lack of physical activity.

School food service directors: Are you seeking to remove processed meats from your school’s menu? Check out our resources below.

Download our toolkit for helpful resources:

  • Educational infographics that summarize the dangers of processed meat, including hot dogs.
  • A 5-step how-to guide detailing how to successfully remove processed meat in your school.
  • Student-approved recipes and products that don’t include processed meat.

Watch our webinar to learn

  • The relationship between processed meat and cancer
  • How to replace processed meat in menu planning  
  • Strategies to market new options on the menu



We welcome you to be in touch with us about any questions you might have, and also would like to know if your school will commit to removing processed meat. You can contact us at or 202-527-7341.

Thank you for all you do for our nation’s children. Please stand with us to prevent and protect our young people from the risk of colorectal cancer. Our team of dietitians and physicians stand by to make this transition easy and fun! Together, we can conquer this terrible disease.