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  1. News Release

  2. Jul 18, 2023

Doctors Ask Bologna Festival Organizers to Change Name, Food to Phony Bologna Festival

Michigan will see 4,630 new cases of colorectal cancer in 2023

YALE, Mich. — A national nonprofit health advocacy group of 17,000 doctors has asked organizers of the Yale Bologna Festival to change the event’s name to the Yale Phony Bologna Festival, and instead of serving bologna, provide a healthy, plant-based alternative to the carcinogenic processed meat. 

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also is sponsoring a mobile billboard aimed at festival attendees and Yale residents warning, “Cancer-causing bologna is baloney.” It will drive around the Yale area, including on thoroughfares such as M-19 and Yale Road, during the festival from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 29.

“The Yale Bologna Festival promotes processed meat, a food that’s been shown in multiple studies to raise the risk of colorectal cancer and other diseases. This festival sends a dangerous message to the residents of Yale and the festival’s thousands of attendees,” wrote Noah Praamsma, a registered dietitian with the Physicians Committee, in a letter to Mayor Brenda Krzak, Mayor Pro Tem Colton Middleton, and Yale Area Chamber of Commerce President Kim Cowhy. Instead of serving bologna, Praamsma wrote, organizers should serve a plant-based (“phony”) version of bologna, such as Tofu Bologna, or one of the many other homemade, healthful vegan alternatives.

Praamsma also wrote to St. Clair County Health Department Director Elizabeth King and Administrator Greg Brown requesting that permit applications from Yale Bologna Festival food vendors who intend to sell processed meat products, including bologna, at the event be denied. 

In 2023, there will be an estimated 4,630 new cases of colorectal cancer in Michigan and an estimated 1,740 deaths from colorectal cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

The World Health Organization has determined that consuming processed meat, such as bologna, increases the risk of colorectal cancer and has classified it as “carcinogenic to humans.” Just 50 grams of processed meat—a couple slices of bologna—consumed daily increases colorectal cancer risk by 18%. The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research say that “there is strong evidence” that consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is striking Americans at a younger age, and processed meat, like bologna, plays a role. A study published by the American Cancer Society earlier this year found that the proportion of individuals with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer who were younger than 55 years old has almost doubled, from 11% in 1995 to 20% in 2019. 

The National Cancer Institute says, “There’s mounting evidence linking an unhealthy diet—in particular, one high in processed meat and fat, and low in fruits and vegetables—to early-onset colorectal cancer.”

Bologna and other processed meat is also linked to cardiovascular disease and death, according to a study that found people eating more than 150 grams of processed meat per week increased their risk of heart disease and death by 46% and 51%, respectively, when compared with those who did not eat processed meat.

On the other hand, plant-based diets can reduce the risk of colon cancer. In a recent study, men who ate the most plant-based foods had a 22% reduced risk of colon cancer, compared with those who ate the least.

For an interview with Mr. Praamsma, please contact Kim Kilbride at 202-717-8665 or at kkilbride [at]

Media Contact

Kim Kilbride



Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

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