Iowa pig farmer responds to report claiming processed meats cause cancer

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Your favorite sausage, ham, and even hot dogs are now being considered cancer causing by the World Health Organization.

A report released Monday by the group put processed meats in the same category as things like cigarettes and asbestos. But one local farmer says he doesn’t think people should worry too much.

At Mike Paustian's family farm in Walcott, young pigs are working hard on gaining weight.

"They'll stay here in the nursery until they get to be about 50 pounds or so," Paustian said.

But while they eat more, the world health organization says you should be eating less of processed meats. That includes a lot of different foods that are typically made from pork.

"Generally there's kind of a knee jerk reaction at first, and everyone kind of reevaluates what they're eating," said Paustian.

That has him at least a little concerned from a business standpoint.

"There is a large market for processed meat because that includes anything that's being cured in any way like ham, bacon, sausages, stuff like that. It would be a substantial chunk of the total pork that is consumed," Paustian said.

But he says he is also skeptical, because the report also categorizes red meat as carcinogenic to humans.

"The category that red meat is listed under also includes alcohol and sunshine. So it's one of those deals where yes I love bacon, but I'm not going to eat it for every single meal," said Paustian

In the end, he believes his mom had it right.

"Just don't go overboard and you should be just fine," Paustian added.

The North American Meat institute responded to the report, saying that the report is dramatic and defies common sense. It points out that out of more than 900 things the World Health Organization has studied, only one does not have any links to cancer. That's a chemical in yoga pants.

1 Comment

  • WendyWhiner

    The report does NOT classify red meat as carcinogenic to humans. If anyone would actually read the report, they’d find that they classify it as “probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A), based on limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect.” Getting your information from the media/social media is like getting your knowledge of the Bible from your pastor. READ IT YOURSELF, PEOPLE. http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf

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