Chinese meat producers are up in arms over a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) stating that consumption of red meat can lead to cancer.
The WHO reported earlier this week that consumption of red meats and processed meats could lead to a small increase in the likelihood of developing colon and other forms of cancer. Fish and poultry, the study concluded, do not pose the same risk.
Many meat producers in China have reacted to the report by trying to cast doubt on its validity.
Ma Xiaozhong, head of the Jinhua Ham Industry Association, was one of many who spoke out.
“You can’t simply say that a product causes cancer,” he said. “People have to have protein if they want health and they need to eat meat for that.”
Lin Jintao, vice marketing manager of Shuanghui, China’s largest pork producer and owner of the American company Smithfield, called the report “deeply regrettable.” He went on to criticize the report as being “inhumane and said that the side effects should not be exaggerated.
Even Chen Wei, General Secretary of China Meat Association, lambasted the report as “indiscreet”, and said that because “cancer is a complicated disease and the cause is unclear… it cannot be attributed to eating meat.”
In spite of this, Ma Xiaozhong has told the media that there has been no drop off in orders, and given the love of meat in China (as well as the size of its market), demand for meat is actually projected to increase. Steaks are high.
Hormel Food Corporation, the makers of everyone’s favorite Spam, has announced plans to open a new plant in China. Meanwhile it is believed that by 2025 demand for beef in China is projected to rise from its current 8 million to 10.2 million metric tonnes.
Basically, even possibly causing cancer isn’t going to save China’s poor pigs. They have it the wurst.
By Stanley Yu