International Health Fanatics Want to Take Away Our Bacon

Just when you thought it was safe to have a hearty pork-based breakfast… 

Might as well wrap yourself in a sheet of asbestos and light up an unfiltered cig as you chow down on your morning bacon, because as the Daily Mail reported, the World Health Organization (WHO) appears to believe they’re equally dangerous substances:

The World Health Organisation is to list processed meat among the most cancer-causing substances, alongside arsenic and asbestos.

Fresh red meat is also due to join the ‘encyclopaedia of carcinogens’ and is likely to be ranked as only slightly less dangerous than the preserved products.

The Mail cited “a well-placed source” for the information. If true, it could really shake up the food industry worldwide and lead to changes in package labeling—warnings about the dangers of consumption. 

The WHO isn’t just targeting bacon, according to the Mail report, but processed meat in general. Sausage, jerky, you name it. The organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) believes there are links between processed meat and vicious diseases like bowel cancer, which the paper reported kills 150,000 people each year in the UK alone.

The Mail also reported comments from the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) on the WHO’s position—and naturally, they weren’t having any of this, implying that the IARC finds a looming cancer menace in everything. NAMI’s president, Barry Carpenter, said in part that the”IARC says you can enjoy your yoga class, but don’t breathe air (Class I carcinogen), sit near a sun-filled window (Class I), drink wine or coffee (Class I and Class 2A,), eat grilled food (Class 2A), or apply aloe vera (Class 2B).”

Classifying bacon as a potentially deadly food could have far-reaching impacts on multiple popular diet plans such as Atkins and the Paleo diet, which both happily embrace meaty, low-carb recipes. It would also conflict with the substance of an October, 2014 report which claimed meat-friendly Paleo was particularly effective at reducing the risk of bowel cancer.

We’re going to remain skeptical on this one because, well, bacon. 

Photos by Shawnzam / Flickr