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Do Processed and Red Meat Cause Cancer?

Today, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer published a statement in The Lancet detailing its position on the carcinogenicity of processed and red meat (1).  The statement, resulting from a meeting of 22 scientists from 10 countries, concluded that processed meat is a group 1 carcinogen, meaning that it is "definitely carcinogenic to humans".  They also judged that red meat is a group 2A carcinogen, meaning that it probably causes cancer but the evidence isn't as strong.  They're mostly referring to the links between processed and red meat and digestive tract cancer, particularly cancers of the colon and rectum.

These statements were met with a media frenzy, and the expected furor from the meat industry.  The most surprising thing, for me, is that anyone would be surprised by the IARC's statement.

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