A Cook's Diary

Dear WHO: Please don’t insult the public with lazy research

Dear WHO: Please don’t insult the public with lazy research | casaveneracion.com

Yes, that is a ham steak. And I purposely chose it to go with my reaction to the now viral news article about a statement released by the cancer research unit of the World Health Organization (WHO) that processed meat is “carcinogenic to humans”.

First of all, the WHO cancer research unit did not conduct its own independent study but based its conclusion on already existing studies.

A group of 22 scientists from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France evaluated more than 800 studies from several continents about meat and cancer. The studies looked at more than a dozen types of cancer in populations with diverse diets over the past 20 years.

Note, too, the definition of processed meat:

The organization defines processed meat as any type of meat that is salted, cured or smoked to enhance its flavor or preserve it.

Notice the two “or” which makes salting alone a form of processing meat.

Note too that cooking by itself is a form of processing meat as cooking prolongs the its shelf life and is, therefore, the simplest form of preservation.

None of the news reports relative to the WHO statement lists these 800 studies “from several continents about meat and cancer”. Moreover, none mentions who the researchers in these 800 studies were, their qualifications and AFFILIATIONS, where exactly the studies were conducted, under what circumstances the studies were conducted and what protocols were followed.

Question #1: How many of these 800 studies were funded by entities that stand to benefit, directly on indirectly, from conclusions that meat are bad for us?

Question #2: How many of these 800 studies were funded by entities with political agenda? Rabid tree-hugging organizations, for instance.

Question #3: How many of these 800 studies were funded by pharmaceutical companies who stand to GAIN THE MOST when people panic and will, in desperation, buy any so-called “cancer-fighting” drug dangled at them?

Question #4: Did the WHO cancer research unit consider questions #1, #2 and #3 when it decided which among the 800 studies were objective and most likely reliable?

When the answers to those four questions become public information, then, we can decide if the conclusion of the WHO cancer research unit is worth entertaining at all.

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