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Statement From the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) on Meat Institute Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC A statement issued today by the American Meat Institute (AMI) in response to the AICR Expert Report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, contains false allegations, misstatements and faulty arguments intended to distract from the clearcut finding of the report in regard to red and processed meats.
The statement refers to a review of data pooled from several studies that was conducted by researchers at Harvard University and that has yet to be published. The allegation is that this pooling project was deliberately withheld from publication; the misstatement is that therefore its individual studies were not considered in AICR's comprehensive review of the scientific literature on meat and cancer risk. In fact, the systematic literature review conducted by AICR collected all of the research in the pooling study, and much more. These data have already been considered by the AICR 21-member Expert Panel.
The AMI statement also contests AICR's recommendation to avoid processed meat, citing the alternate conclusions that were reached by a review of the evidence commissioned by AMI. Such an ad hoc literature review, paid for by an interested party, and conducted by two scientists alone, lacks the objectivity and rigor of which the AICR Report is a model.
Furthermore, the statement claims that the studies examined in the AMI literature review failed to achieve statistical significance and are therefore invalid. However, when considering all the data as whole -- as was done in the AICR report -- the data does display a clear and conclusive increase in risk that is statistically significant.
The final section of the statement defends one mechanism by which processed meat may increase cancer risk, namely nitrite. It does not, however, address several other plausible mechanisms for a link between processed meat and increased colon cancer risk. These include: endogenously caused nitrosamines, the effects of cooking at high heat, heme iron, salting and smoking.
The AICR Second Expert Report examined the evidence on meat and colorectal cancer risk in a systematic, transparent, and objective manner and concluded that consumption of red meat and especially processed meat increases risk.
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The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on diet and cancer and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $82 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund InternationalAll active news articles