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Hot dogs, bacon, and red meat are giving people cancer

Eating processed meats can give you cancer, a World Health Organization group announced on Monday.

In surprisingly direct phrasing, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) eschewed bureaucratic language like "may cause" to express any doubt about its research, instead labeling processed meats as "carcinogenic to humans." It's the highest ranking a substance can receive, putting the meat on par with alcohol, asbestos, arsenic, and cigarettes.

"Processed meat refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation. Most processed meats contain pork or beef, but might also contain other red meats, poultry, offal (eg, liver), or meat byproducts such as blood," the report defined. In one example, the IARC found that a 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

Red meat — or "unprocessed mammalian muscle meat" such as beef, pork, lamb, veal, or goat meat — is also believed to cause cancer, according to the report, which associated consumption with pancreatic and prostate cancer. Research was carried out by an international panel who reviewed animal experiments, human diets, and cell mechanisms to reach their conclusions.

"These findings further support current public health recommendations to limit intake of meat," IARC director Dr. Christopher Wild said in a statement.