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WPC REPORT - Flaws in Cancer Report Highlighted

by 5m Editor
4 September 2009, at 9:43pm

CHINA - The report from the World Cancer Research Fund that links eating red meat with cancer contains a "significant error", writes ThePigSite senior editor Chris Harris from the World Pork Conference.

Mary Anne Binnie, the manager of nutrition and food industry relations at the Canadian Pork Council told the conference that the report that was published in November 2007 increased the concept of the risk of eating red meat from the original report published a decade earlier.

Ms Binnie said that it had reduced its estimates of the amount of red meat that should be eaten from 80 grams a day to less than 500 grams a week and it had said that very little if any processed meat should be eaten.

And in a policy statement in February this year the WCRF had said there should be a public health goal of red meat consumption of no more than 300 grams a week.

The WCRF in the UK had recently used the report evidence again to warn parents about putting processed meat into school lunch boxes, she told the conference.

Ms Binnie said that there are concerns that the references to processed meat could have a long-term impact in the meat industry.

However, she said that an editorial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition detailed omissions and errors in the red meat and colorectal cancer section of the report.

She added that an editorial in the Annals of Oncology said: "The substantial review of evidence in the WCRF report demonstrates that there is no discernible association between many forms of cancer and specific dietary practices.

"There are still some very interesting hypotheses to pursue, such as the value of an approach on the basis of food patterns rather than individual foods and nutrients, but the cupboard is remarkably bare."

Ms Binnie told the conference: "There is a significant error which dramatically and incorrectly overestimates risk associations for red meat and colorectal cancer by a factor of seven."

She said the error was that the report refers to servings per time/week rather than servings per day.