The Cancer Project is working to get processed meats removed from U.S. school lunch programs. That's not setting well with many groups, including the American Meat Institute.

 Jim Hodges, AMI's vice president, a USDA listening session on possible reforms to the Child Nutrition Act in Baltimore to challenge the "pseudo-medical animal rights group" and its efforts.

"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," he said. "It is just what those of us who know the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine have come to expect from this pro-vegetarian, animal rights group in doctor's clothing. Only a small percentage of PCRM's members are physicians."

As reported, Hodges countered the campaign's claims of processed meats as a cancer risk. He emphasized 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.

"Just as consumers need to eat a healthy, balanced diet, they need balanced information," Hodges said. "Check with credible health sources like your doctor, dietician or the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. You can be assured they will tell you that a healthy diet can include processed meats."

In tandem with USDA's listening sessions, The Cancer Project launched anti-processed-meats advertising campaigns in cities hosting the sessions. The group indicates that it has plans to expand the campaign nationally.