Eat Better Meat: Our Take on the World Health Organization Study
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) made headlines by releasing a study that classified processed meat (bacon, sausages, hot dogs, ham, salami, and pepperoni) as a “definite” cause of cancer and red meat (beef, lamb, and pork) as a “probable” cause.
What does this news mean for you, a consumer of high-quality, locally-raised, grass-fed meat?
First, let’s take a look at the numbers. The report said eating 50 grams of processed meat a day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 18%, and that red meats were “probably carcinogenic.” The study doesn’t mean daily bacon eaters have an 18% chance of getting cancer. What it means is that their likelihood of getting this type of cancer increases by 18%. So, if due to genetics and lifestyle, you had an 8% chance of getting a certain type of cancer, an increase of 18% means you now have a 9.4% chance.
Next, let’s look at the type of meat the people in the study were eating. The WHO report didn’t make a distinction between chemically preserved meat and meat that is naturally preserved with salting, curing, drying, or smoking. They also didn’t specify how the meat was raised, what it was fed, or what type or hormones or antibiotics it was fed. The study did point out the nutritional value of red meat, which is full of protein, iron, and zinc.
At The Heart & Trotter, our meat comes from small, family farms dedicated to sustainable practices. We buy whole animals direct from our ranchers—animals that have never been exposed to hormones, antibiotics or chemicals. Our butcher shop was founded on the idea that meat should be eaten in moderation. We believe humans should limit their consumption of processed foods, including meats that contain artificial preservatives, chemical tenderizers, and flavor enhancers.
This is why we offer only pastured all natural and organic meats along with sausages and deli meats in their simplest and healthiest form. Humans have consumed cured meats for thousands of years, and only in recent times has the meat been preserved with chemicals and additives.
Rather than giving up meat entirely, this study should be a reminder to think carefully about where your meat comes from. Be conscious about what goes on your place, and balance your carefully selected meat with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
We believe in higher quality and smaller portions, and are committed to stocking our shop with meat that is better for our customers, the animals, and the environment.
Written by James & guest author Hilary Achauer