The World Health Organization has declared red meat and processed meat to be a cancer hazard, confirming statements by Seventh-day Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White more than a 120 years ago and recent research by Loma Linda University.
The Adventist Church’s top doctor said Monday’s announcement, the global health community’s most definitive response yet to the relation between meat and cancer, served as a wake-up call for church members to examine their own diets.
“We have had this information for over 120 years,” said Dr. Peter N. Landless, director of the Adventist world church’s health ministries department. “Sadly, many have chosen not to follow the advice that has been given to God’s inspired servant, but it is always reassuring when one sees that that which is given by inspiration is proven by peer-reviewed, evidence-based science.”
He added: “Our prayer is that our church will take note, not because this is an issue related to salvation but because it affects the quality of life and our service to a broken world, the mission to which we have been called.”
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said in a statement that it decided to classify processed meat as carcinogenic, or cancer causing, to humans and red meat as “probably” carcinogenic. The decision was based on a review of 800 related studies by a team of 22 experts in 10 countries.
Meat consumption was linked mainly to cancers of the colon and rectum, the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States after lung cancer, but associations were also observed for pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.
“The experts concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent,” the agency statement said.