There is now a clear body of evidence that bowel cancer is more common among those who eat the most red and processed meat. Processed meat consumption has also been strongly linked to a higher risk of stomach cancer. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats – including ham, salami, bacon and frankfurts – as a Group 1 carcinogen which means that there is strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer.
Red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork has been classified as a ‘probable’ cause of cancer. These classifications do not indicate the risk of getting cancer, rather how certain we are that these things are likely to cause cancer. Cancer Council estimates that in 2010, one in six (or 2600) new bowel cancer cases in Australia were associated with consuming too much red meat and processed meat.