Cancer Warning Labels Sought for Processed Meat and Poultry

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A nine-page petition filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest asks the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to begin requiring colorectal cancer warning labels on certain meat and poultry products.

The petition claims “scientific research has led to the conclusion that processed meat and poultry increases the risk of colorectal cancer.” The North American Meat Institute (NAMI), said CSPI has earned the nickname “the food police” for such “scare tactics.”

 The CSPI suggests the label should state: “USDA WARNING: Frequent consumption of processed meat products may increase your risk of developing cancer of the colon and rectum. To protect your health, limit consumption of such products.” The group also wants a similar warning on poultry products.

 The petition acknowledges processed meats have been around “since antiquity.” It names bacon, hot dogs, ham, sausages and deli and luncheon meats as examples of the products it wants slapped with the warning.

Learn more about the proposed labeling at