Local Ranchers, Doctors React to Report that Processed Meat Can Cause Cancer

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The World Health Organization issued a report Monday saying that processed meats like ham and bacon can cause cancer. The report is a compilation of studies on the health of processed and unprocessed meats.

Kaiser Permanente Roseville's chief of nuclear medicine says that the report just confirms what doctors have accepted for some time. Kaiser advises all its patients to eat more of a plant-based diet.

"Part of our chronic disease epidemic in this country is related to how we're eating ... and we're eating too much animal protein," said Dr. Andrew Klonecke.

But cattle ranchers in the valley take exception to the report.

"More of the same old story," said Kenny Watkins, who raises cattle near Linden just east of Stockton.

He says not enough is said about the nutritional value of beef as a source of protein, vitamins and minerals.

He doesn't like the fact that the report lumps beef in with pollutants and cancer-causing substances that have no health value.

"The value of beef far outweighs the risks, there are risks in anything we do from driving to the store to deciding what we do every day," Watkins said.

Watkins says the beef industry is responding to needs of consumers by offering more grass-fed beef, organic beef free of hormones and pesticides, and beef with less fat content.


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