Red and processed meat report fails to impact sales

The study into red and processed meat by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has had little impact on sales, reports UK butchers. 

The report, which labelled processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans”, placing it in the same category as asbestos and second-hand tobacco smoke, attracted mainstream media attention. Red meat was also labelled as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

The research was carried out by a working group of 22 scientists from 10 different countries, who reviewed over 800 studies that went back to 2004.

Top butchers from around the UK said the report hadn’t impacted sales of red meat in their shops. David Canon, of J Brindon Addy in Yorkshire, said no staff member had reported a drop in sales or customer concerns over red meat and carcinogens. “We haven’t noticed a drop in sales and nobody has questioned the products they’re buying,” he said. “Sales are still strong for us.”

A spokesman for Davidsons in Aberdeen also said there was no change in sales in the shop following the study’s publication, while the staff at Pyne’s of Somerset said: “The report had no effect on us in the slightest.”

Following the publication of the report, industry experts said that while the IARC places red and processed meat on the carcinogenic lists, they are less likely to cause cancer than other factors in the same groups, and that both meats can still be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

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