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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE January 11, 2005

JAMA Study on Meat and Cancer Demands Action, Says PCRM

It's Time to Turn Research Into Policy; PCRM Nutritionists Available for Comment

WASHINGTON—A major new study, to be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association tomorrow, shows that the less red and processed meat people eat, the lower their risk of colon cancer. Although previous studies have shown the same association, the large study population and the long duration of the study (two decades) make this one of the strongest cases against meat seen in many years. Nutritionists with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine are calling on public health officials and Congress to take immediate action based on the study’s findings. Specifically:

1. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services should remove meat products from the list of recommended foods in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and the Food Guide Pyramid and should specifically warn against the consumption of these products.

2. The U.S. Department of Agriculture should remove meat products from the list of subsidized foods in the National School Lunch Program and other federal nutrition assistance programs and replace them with more healthful protein sources, including beans, lentils, soy products, and meat analogues.

3. Congress should audit the other means by which the federal government subsidizes meat products as the first step in discontinuing such support.

4. The meat industry should be held financially responsible for a measure of the colon cancer incidence in the meat-eating population, as the tobacco industry has been for its contribution to lung cancer.

As PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., says, “Often, new research studies simply beget more research. But given what we now know about the impact of meat consumption on colon cancer risk, it’s critical for our government to take action now. We have the power to save the next generation from a great deal of misery, but only if we take these findings seriously.”

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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