USDA Petitioned to Put Cancer Warnings on Meat Labels



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December 12, 2016

Center for Science in Public Interest filed a petition to re-label meat, citing mounting evidence that its consumption leads to increased cancer risk.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed a formal Citizen’s Petition with the Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)—an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)—demanding that the government organization place labels on processed meat and poultry products, warning consumers of colorectal cancer risk. “In recent years, scientific research has led to the conclusion that processed meat and poultry increases the risk of colorectal cancer, which is the second‐leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States,” the document states, continuing that the disease is “expected to account for 49,190 deaths in 2016.” CSPI cites evidence presented by two notable institutions—The Agency for Research on Cancer, and World Cancer Research Fund International—which have both concluded that the consumption of processed meat and poultry is carcinogenic to humans. CSPI urges the FSIS—in its capacity as an institution that safeguards public health—to label meat as carcinogenic. Last year, the World Health Organization reclassified processed meat into the same carcinogenic category as tobacco.

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