AMI: Safety and Benefits of Processed Meats Confirmed

US - American Meat Institute executive vice-president James Hodges has underscored the safety of processed meats and condemned recent efforts of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a pseudo-medical, animal rights group, to eliminate processed meats from the school nutrition programs.
calendar icon 7 August 2008
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The remarks were delivered during a USDA listening session on the 2009 Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, held in Baltimore, Maryland.

“A factually inaccurate, alarmist and exploitive new campaign called the Cancer Project is aimed at scaring parents and school systems out of feeding children processed meats. It is just what those of us who know the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) have come to expect from this pro-vegetarian animal rights group in doctor’s clothing,” Mr Hodges said. “Only a small percentage of PCRM’s members are physicians.”

Mr Hodges noted that PCRM cites a controversial and inconclusive report by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) as representing 'consensus' when it has been widely challenged by scientists. Studies showing no connection between processed meats and cancer were not included in the WCRF report cited by the PCRM/The Cancer Project.

He said that numerous studies and experts show that processed meats are safe and nutritious and that nitrite in cured meats is safe, does not cause cancer, has health benefits, is naturally produced by the human body and is found at higher levels in vegetables, fruits and water.

“Children are notoriously picky eaters, but they enjoy many processed meats and derive essential vitamins, minerals, protein and amino acids to the diet,” Mr Hodges said. “Uneaten bowls of lentil artichoke stew or potato cauliflower curry (two of PCRM’s suggested recipes) contribute nothing to a child’s diet.”

“Just as consumers need to eat a healthy and balanced diet, they need balanced information,” Mr Hodges concluded. “Check with credible health sources like your doctor, dietician or the US Dietary Guidelines. You can be assured that they will tell you that a healthy diet can include processed meats.”

Jay Murray, Ph.D., expert toxicologist, echoed Mr Hodges’ message during a listening session in San Francisco, on the same issue.

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