Health News Unfit for Human Consumption?

When the Institute for Natural Healing published an online article in May attributing the scientific conclusion that “processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption” to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), the WCRF disavowed the claim. In fact, WCRF said it had “no part in the production of this article,” which, amounted to “scaremongering.”

Of course, by the time WCRF issued its statement challenging the Intitute’s report, the story had informed dozens of newspaper reports around the world and was mentioned on hundreds of social media sites. Many of those reports also included the following quotation from the Intitute’s online article, again attributed to WCRF: “Consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives.” Few, if any, of the media outlets that gave the initial report legs followed up after the WCRF objected. On May 22, however, the Institute for Natural Healing noted WCRF’s objection, updating the initial story but standing by it: “We read [WCRF’s] review and drew the only logical, possible conclusion.”

What conclusion is that? That people shouldn’t eat processed meat.

So if WCRF disavows the Institute for Natural Health conclusion about its report, what does WCRF actually have to say about processed meat? According to a WCRF press release, “World Cancer Research Fund International recommends avoiding processed meat. This is the conclusion of an independent panel of leading scientists who, following the biggest review of international research ever undertaken, judged the evidence that processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer to be convincing. This review was done in 2007 and was subsequently confirmed in 2011.”

The Institute for Natural Healing describes its mission as twofold: providing “the latest medical science and breaking health news,” and offering for sale “the world’s most effective natural therapies.” Essential BioNutrients “is the Institute’s evidence-based line of nutritional supplements,” according to its website.

(Originally appeared in The Valley Advocate.)

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