November 13, 2015 – Cows and Cancer


Anchor lead: Should you modify your meat eating habits based on WHO recommendations? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Processed meat and to a lesser degree, red meat, are carcinogens, the WHO announced to a stunned world recently.  Is there more to this than simply health concerns, like environmental impact of meat production? Mike Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says this announcement is based solely on the health data, although the green aspect is compelling.

Klag: There are lots of reasons for people to limit their red meat intake, in relation to heart disease for example and increasing cholesterol levels, but if you look at beef, the cow is an inefficient middle man. It takes a lot of grain, eight pounds of grain to raise one pound of beef, and a thousand gallons of water. So it’s not efficient, but they did not deal with that issue at all, this was really based on the epidemiologic data looking at studies that relate red meat consumption and processed meat consumption to risk of cancer.   :29

Klag is in favor of foregoing meat at least one day each week for a multitude of reasons.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.