When the consolidated corporate media frames a new report showing that red and processed meats cause cancer around how mad and sad these findings make the meat industry feel. Not about how each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases your chance of colorectal cancer by 18%.
As far as they're concerned, this is not only about how eating certain foods might make you sick and dead, but about how shockingly un-American the report by the World Health Organization truly is. Hating hot dogs would be as unpatriotic as hating Exceptional USA, dontcha know.
The Wall Street Journal's lede:
Red and processed meats have the potential to cause cancer in humans, according to a report by a World Health Organization agency that is drawing ire from meat industry groups that argue the science is inadequate.The Washington Post's take:
The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat yet taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States.Get ready for outraged The War Against Steak coverage to vie with The War Against Christmas on Fox. Get ready for the congressional sausage-makers to open up their gluttonous maws for millions of lobbyist dollars to help them bring home the bacon even as they continue to cut food stamp stipends for the working poor and retirees. According to the Post, it isn't the meat that's deadly: it's the international health group itself:
But the panel’s decision was not unanimous, and by raising lethal concerns about a food that anchors countless American meals, it will be controversial. The $95 billion U.S. beef industry has been preparing for months to mount a response and some scientists, including some unaffiliated with the meat industry, have questioned whether the evidence is substantial enough to draw the kinds of strong conclusions that the WHO panel did.It looks as though carcinogenic meat will be the next big Climate Change Debate. Gluttony will be given equal time with moderation and abstention in order to make the coverage, as well as the meals, fair and balanced. The debate largely centers around semantics. Although red and processed meats have long been linked to cancer, this is the first time they have actually been said to cause cancer.
In recent years, meat consumption has been the target of multi-faceted social criticism, with debates erupting not just over its role on human health, but the impact of feedlots on the environment and on animal welfare. The public debate over the WHO's findings will likely play out with political lobbying, and in marketing messages for consumers.In order for scientists to prove once and for all that red meat causes cancer, long-term studies of red meat consumers and non-red meat consumers would have to be conducted. And it would be so inhumane to force-feed tons of bacon to groups of hungry guinea pigs just to prove that they will develop cancer at higher rates than vegans and fish eaters. And goodness knows, the food industry only has our health and best interests at heart. Therefore, they suggest that we simply ignore the WHO report.
But at its core, the dispute over meat and cancer revolves around science, and in particular the difficulty that arises whenever scientists try to link any food to a chronic disease.
The meat industry is already taking tips from Big Tobacco and getting their big lies ready.
They will repeat the lies often enough and loudly enough to give them the patina of truth.
The North American Meat Institute derides even less strident findings than those of WHO as "flawed and nonsensical," claiming that today's modern meat is less fatty and more nutritious than yesterday's meat, and that processed meat is more readily consumed than ordinary meat, and that it also makes you feel fuller faster because of its "nutrient density."
If this sounds like bunk, it's because it is bunk.
As if that were not enough, the Institute also claims that the excessive salt added to processed meat is good for you, too!
“As an ingredient in meat products, salt is used as a preservative, which is one aspect of a multi-hurdle approach toward maintaining product safety,” AMI said. “In the last 20 years, the meat and poultry industry has also learned in more quantitative fashion the importance of sodium chloride in managing pathogenic bacterial risks presented by L. monocytogenes, Salmonella, and pathogenic E. coli in processed meat and poultry items.”Who wouldn't pick a slow death from colorectal cancer or hypertension or heart disease over an instantaneous, nasty case of food poisoning? Or, as the Lesser Evil Caucus phrases it, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
And if you feel guilty about eating a formerly living animal, don't. Because slaughtering methods are so much more humane than they were when Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle. So says Big Meat.
Most important, the meat industry is the biggest sector in the agriculture industry, which in turn is the biggest sector of the whole lousy US economy. Therefore, if you don't eat carcinogenic food, there will be no metastatic growth and progress. Forgoing bologna sandwiches would destroy thousands of low-wage jobs in charnel houses and meatpacking plants. Never mind that thanks to "free trade," American meat is now being shipped to such slave-wage countries as China for processing and shipping back to our dinner tables.
And did I mention that the North American Meat Institute is one of the secret negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Did I even have to? They truly put the mystery back into the Mystery Meat.