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Study on Pancreatic Cancer Link to Processed Meat "Inconclusive," Says AMIF

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

In response to the report released today at the American Association for Cancer Research in Anaheim, California, attempting to link processed meats to pancreatic cancer, James L. Hodges, President of the American Meat Institute Foundation made the following comment:

“The relative risk reported by University of Hawaii researcher Dr. Ute, is below the standard threshold for concern. This study did not show a strong relationship between the variables that were analyzed.

Moreover, the headline on the press release issued about this study stands in stark contrast to one published just two weeks ago by the Harvard School of Public Health. That study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and reached an opposite conclusion: Meat consumption was NOT associated with pancreatic cancer.

This study is an epidemiological study, which means it involved clipboards, calculators and interviews with people about foods eaten in the past. It was not a laboratory-based study and therefore does not provide scientific explanation about the mechanism of observed effect. Epidemiological studies also are not capable of proving cause and effect.

Consumers should use caution in reacting to this study because it appears we are facing the swinging of the diet and health, good food/bad food pendulum. Sometimes, through mere statistical chance, foods are implicated in one epidemiological study and exonerated in the next one. The most important fact is that the larger body of evidence has shown that processed meats are a healthy part of a balanced diet.

In the constantly changing diet and health environment, the wisest course of action is a balanced diet and plenty of exercise as prescribed by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.”

For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs

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