Leading urban news media seem to be the only ones surprised by Monday’s announcement from the United Nations that eating processed meats is linked with a higher rate of colon cancer.
The report also says there is a lesser link between red meat and cancer.
Media, such as the CBC National, featured several stories about the report, including an interview with a Saskatchewan beef farmer.
The meat-packing industry, dieticians and the medical community have all known for decades that there is a statistical link between processed meats and a higher incidence of cancer.
Forty years ago researchers were warning that nitrates used as a preservative in many processed meats, such as bacon, sausages and hot dogs, could combine with amines in the saliva in human mouths to form nitrosamines which were even then known to be a relatively high-risk carcinogen.
Dieticians and medical doctors have been warning for decades that North Americans are eating too much red meat.
The North American meat industry began anticipating this report several weeks ago, so was ready with responses generally saying there is still no cause-and-effect proof and that it is a statistical link.
The meat industry is also saying that meat, consumed in moderation, is safe and nutritious.