Statement: World Cancer Research Fund response to the latest evidence on meat and cancer risk

26 October 2015

The results of a robust evaluation of the evidence on red and processed meat by the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has today been welcomed by World Cancer Research Fund.

Reports from 2007 and 2011 from World Cancer Research Fund found strong scientific evidence that eating red or processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer. The charity currently recommends eating no more than 500 grams (cooked weight) of red meat each week, and eating little, if any, processed meat.

The charity’s Head of Research Interpretation Dr Rachel Thompson said: “The results of this new evaluation are in line with our own findings from our comprehensive analysis of global scientific evidence, which shows eating red or processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.

“Red meat can contribute to a healthy, balanced diet, as it is a good source of nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Processed meat on the other hand has less valuable nutrients and can be high in fat and salt.”