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Our response to social media story on processed meat

22 May 2013

We are aware of a story circulating social media and blog sites claiming to represent World Cancer Research Fund International’s position on processed meat. We had no involvement in the production of this article. The statement below is a true reflection of our stance on processed meat:

World Cancer Research Fund International recommends avoiding processed meat. This is the conclusion of an independent panel of leading scientists who, following the biggest review of international research ever undertaken, judged the evidence that processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer to be convincing. This review was done in 2007 and was subsequently confirmed in 2011.

There is a continual, growing body of scientific evidence that highlights the health risks of eating processed meat. It is estimated that there would be 4,000 fewer cases of bowel cancer in the UK if people consumed less than 70g of processed meat a week (equivalent to three rashers of bacon). This is why we recommend people avoid it. The articles talking about processed meat being 'too dangerous for human consumption' are unhelpful and scaremongering. We would say that if people can't cut out processed meat completely they should cut down. WCRF International advocates a sensible, healthy, balanced diet.

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About WCRF

World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) raises awareness that cancer is largely preventable and helps people make choices to reduce their chances of developing the disease.

This includes research into how cancer risk is related to diet, physical activity, and weight management, and education programmes that highlight the fact that about a third of cancers could be prevented through changes to lifestyle. For more information on the charity’s work, visit

The WCRF report, called Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, was launched in November 2007 and is the most comprehensive report ever published on the link between cancer and lifestyle. For more information, visit


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