Consumers should continue to feel good about consuming processed meat as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet, according to the National Pork Board. 

"Today’s report findings on meat and cancer are misleading as the published data do not support the conclusions reached on the subject," NPB said in a statement. "While a body of scientific literature exists exploring the potential relationship between meat and cancer, the results are not supportive of a consistent or causal link. In fact, this report primarily looks at epidemiological studies, which alone cannot show cause and effect, and it fails to highlight the significant inconsistencies of data around the subject of meat and cancer." 

Stating a conclusive link is misleading and detracts from the significantly greater risks associated with lifestyle factors such as obesity and lack of physical activity, according to NPB officials.

"Cancer prevention is not as simple as cutting out one food or eating more of another. The truth is that processed pork fits into established nutrition guidelines, including the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity and an average of 5.5 ounces from the Meat and Beans Group daily," said NPB.

Following are comments from Maureen Storey, University of Maryland, Center for Food Nutrition, and Agriculture Policy:

“We have to keep this study in perspective.  This report relies heavily on epidemiological studies, which cannot establish a cause and effect relationship. Epidemiological study findings are simply clues for further research.

“This report shows stronger links between obesity and lack of physical activity.  This is something consumers have to understand and act upon.  It is important for everyone to remember to eat a variety of foods in moderation and to get more physical activity.”

Source: National Pork Board