Australian minister Barnaby Joyce dismisses red meat-cancer link, says processed meat shouldn't be compared to cigarettes

By @Guneet_B on
Bacon
(IN PHOTO) Women fry bacon on a fire as they take part in the Rusalle festival (the holiday of mermaids) in the village of Kommuna June 15, 2014. The festival is an ancient tradition originating from pagan times, which women sing and dance around a campfire and choose a leader of the mermaids, in a belief that the leader will protect the harvest. Reuters

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently released a report based on an analysis of 800 previous studies suggesting that there is a direct link between the consumption of processed meat and the occurrence of cancer.

Even though the organisation has ranked processed meat as group one carcinogen, giving it the same ranking as cigarettes, asbestos and alcohol, Australia's Agricultural Minister has expressed disappointment with the report.

"No, processed meat shouldn't be compared to cigarettes and obviously that makes the whole thing a farce – comparing sausages to cigarettes," said Barnaby Joyce in an interview with ABC.

Joyce further says that if such claims are taken too seriously and people start taking everything that WHO describes as “carcinogenic” out of their daily requirements, then the situation would be similar to leading the human civilisation back to the caves.

The WHO report says that consumption of processed meat increases the chances of cancer, particularly rectal and colon cancer. However, the Australian minister said that people should not get believe that if they have bacon, then they will die of bowel cancer.

"But if you're going to avoid everything that has any correlation with cancer whatsoever – don't walk outside, don't walk down the streets in Sydney, there's going to be very little in life that you do in the end," Joyce said.

According to an estimate prepared by Cancer Council Australia in 2010, more than 2,600 bowel cancer cases diagnosed in the country was directly linked to red and processed meat consumption. The UK-based World Cancer Research Fund also supports the findings and has continuously warned people against overconsumption of red meat.

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