The Cancer Project, an offshoot of a pro-vegan group, is filing a class-action consumer fraud lawsuit in Essex County, New Jersey, on behalf of three of the state's residents. The suit is against Nathans Famous, Kraft Foods/Oscar Mayer, Sara Lee, Con Agra Foods and Marathon Enterprises, for failing to warn consumers that hot dogs increase the danger of colorectal cancer.
The Cancer Project would like to see hot dog packages to be labeled: "Warning: Consuming hot dogs and other processed meats increases the risk of cancer."
According to the Los Angles Times, the companies being sued are firmly against such a label. Syndey Lindner, a Kraft spokeswomen, told the newspaper, "These proposals are unfounded. Hot dogs have been enjoyed by consumers for more than 100 years."
The suit cites a study by the American Institute for Cancer Research that states that excess body fat, red meat, processed meat and alcohol increases the risk of cancer. The study states, "Based on convincing evidence, the panel recommends avoiding processed meats such as bacon, ham, sausage and lunchmeat. After carefully examining all of the evidence, the panel was not able to find a level at which consumption of processed meat could be reliably considered completely safe. Every 1.7 ounces of processed meat consumed per day increases risk of colorectal cancer by 21%.
Panel member W. Phillip T. James, M.D., D.Sc. recommends "that if people eat processed meat at all, they save it for special occasions like ham at Christmas or the occasional hot dog at a baseball game."
The Cancer Project, an affiliate of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, takes a much stronger stance: "Just as tobacco causes lung cancer, processed meats are linked to colon cancer," says Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Cancer Project. "Companies that sell hot dogs are well aware of the danger, and their customers deserve the same information."
The Cancer Project has a specific agenda in this case. But the suit brings up a well-known health problem in this country: eating too much red meat and processed meat. Whether or not you decide to grill a tofu dog this weekend instead of a hot dog, the American Institute for Cancer Research has some simple tips on preventing cancer most anyone would agree with.
Recommendations for Cancer Prevention from the American Institute for Cancer Research
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