A new study of half a million people from the National Cancer Institute finds that red and processed meat not only promotes colon cancer--which everyone knew--but esophagus, liver, lung and pancreas cancer!
Grilled meat, the study found, is especially bad because it produces heterocyclic amines--linked to breast, colon, stomach and prostate cancers--and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, another class of carcinogens formed from dripping fat.
Much to the chagrin of cattlemen, in the last two decades red meat has gone from good-for-you to do-it-if-you-feel lucky. Not as kamikaze as smoking or eating a Lake Michigan fish but getting there.
And that's before we get to the all American breakfast of sausage and bacon.
No, for anyone who wants to live past 40 today the four food groups are no longer cholesterol, salt, calories and fat. There's a new sheriff in town and he's called fiber.
USDA can't come right out and say red meat causes heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, obesity and most of the other neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases that are known to man.
So it says a low fat diet prevents them--the same way low tar cigarettes prevent lung cancer and low ultraviolet exposure prevents melanoma.
Instead of saying get your affairs in order before eating this product, it does a little diplomatic dance and says red meat can be a valuable contribution to a well balanced diet when used in moderation. So can saw dust.
And the problems don't end there.
Thanks to the "honor" system enacted in slaughterhouses, HACCP-- Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point or Have A Cup of Coffee and Pray--in which packers inspect their own operations with no onsite federal inspectors to stop the line and lose the company money, e Coli is another red meat "perk."
And speaking of biohazards, does anyone really think mad cow disease has gone away?
Red meat has other public relations problems too.