World Health Organization (WHO) officially identified processed meat as a carcinogenic substance. It was listed to like the same risk level as tobacco and asbestos, according to WHO.
NBC NEWS: Ham, Sausages Cause Cancer; Red Meat Probably Does, Too, WHO Group Says
This statement is based on several studies, some of which are published in popular academic journals. Indeed, many researchers have believed the risk of processed meat to cause cancer. Nonetheless, it is surprising that meat was deemed as dangerous as tobacco, one of the most harmful substance we frequently see.
The Lancet Oncology: Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat
Furthermore, red meat is also probable to be carcinogenic, according to WHO. Pancreas and prostate seem to be vulnerable to the exposure to red meat.
The Guardian: Processed meats rank alongside smoking as cancer causes – WHO
The statement of WHO is seismic for both meat producing and consuming countries. Christian Schmidt, minister for food and agriculture of Germany, made a comment that sausages are beneficial in moderation, as well as the sunshine. On the other hand, some people claim that we should seek substitute to red meat in the future.
Reuters: Germany's answer to WHO study: Don't be scared of sausages
Traditional Japanese cuisine contained fishes instead of red meat. Following the westernization of daily diet, it is considered that the prevalence rate of colon cancer has been raised in Japan. Despite some factors may be confounding, I believe the hypothesis that red meat can cause cancer.
However, there are many other foods suspicious to be related to carcinogenic activity. We cannot avoid all risks, including those which have not been proven. After all, balanced meal is preferable for modifying the overall risk.
Therefore, I am not afraid of the statement of WHO. In my opinion, it is overestimating the risk of meat. I still love sausages.