IARC—A study in absurdity

By Gene Hall

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), has something of a credibility problem. That agency just released a report saying that processed meat is a definite carcinogen and red meat is “probably carcinogenic.” IARC’s classification with four groups is confusing and misleading.

In that Group 1 category, you have, among other things, cigarettes, asbestos, a host of very powerful chemicals and salami, bacon and cocktail weenies. It’s okay, you can say it. This is absurd. Processed meats are on the list because if you eat that every single day, cancer experts say you can increase your cancer risk by 1 percent. That’s not exactly like plutonium, is it?

In Group 2A, we find red meat. Steaks of both grass-fed and grain-fed sources, pork chops, lamb and so on. Know what else is in Group 2A? Glyphosate. This is a weed killer commonly known as Roundup. You can buy all you want at Walmart. It’s almost universally accepted in the scientific community as safe. IARC alone has it classified as “probably” causing cancer. So here we have a weed killer hanging out in the same category as prime rib. Again, folks, this is absurd. It also begins to smack of an anti-agriculture agenda.
Group 2B is possibly carcinogenic. On this list are cell phones, coffee, pickled vegetables, carbon black (carbon paper), gasoline exhaust, talcum powder and nickels. Worried yet?

Group 3 is the “not classified” category. I take that to mean there’s not enough evidence to classify them. But give them time. There’s funding at stake.

IARC prides itself on unanimous decisions, yet could barely muster a majority vote to attack meat. But again, attacking livestock farming is very fashionable. Perhaps some at IARC did not want to miss the chance to get in on it.

Gene Hall

Public Relations Director
Texas Farm Bureau
I believe that the only hope for a food secure world is capitalism and reasonable profits for America’s farm and ranch families–that the first element of sustainability is economic survival.
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