American Meat Institute Says Court
Should Dismiss Vegetarian Group's Nuisance Lawsuit Against Hot Dogs
of Article: http://www.meatami.com/ht/display/ReleaseDetails/i/51893
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The American Meat Institute (AMI)
today urged dismissal of a nuisance lawsuit filed through the
pro-vegetarian, animal rights group, the Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine and its 'Cancer Project.'
"We hope the court will move
quickly to review the science affirming the safety of hot dogs and
processed meats and dismiss this lawsuit, recognizing it for the nuisance
that it is," said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. "Meat
products are regulated and inspected by USDA and bear the federal
government's seal of inspection , showing they are wholesome and
nutritious. While PCRM argues for warning labels on our safe
products, the labels would be more appropriately placed on PCRM's web sites
and press releases to alert consumers to their true
Boyle said that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines affirm that processed meat and
poultry products - including hot dogs -- can be a healthy part of a
balanced diet. They are also among America's most popular and beloved
PCRM has been widely criticized
for its alarmist campaign against hot dogs and processed meats.
Ron Kleinman, M.D., a leading medical expert on childhood nutrition at
Massachusetts General Hospital and former chair of the American Academy of
Pediatrics, has called PCRM's ad featuring child actors claiming they have
cancer from processed meats 'outrageous,' and he chastised the group
for exploiting children to achieve its political agenda.
AMI provided the following facts
to help the media think critically about the absence of any
scientific underpinnings for PCRM's legal strategy:
Fact: PCRM's goal is to
create a vegan society. PCRM bases its claims against processed meats
on this longstanding and myopic view that vegan diets (extreme diets that
include no animal products whatsoever) are better than balanced
diets. PCRM also cites a controversial and inconclusive report by the
World Cancer Research Fund as representing "consensus" when it
has been widely challenged by scientists.
Fact: PCRM's Executive
Director Neal Barnard until 2005 sat on the board of the Foundation to
Support Animal Protection, which has since become known as PETA (People for
the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Foundation. Need we say more?
Fact: There are safe levels
of just about everything; balance and moderation are key. Even
botulism toxin, a very dangerous substance at certain levels, is approved
to treat muscle spasms in people and to reduce skin
wrinkling. Saying that there are "no safe levels" of a
nutritious food product is simply outrageous and scientifically insupportable.
Processed meats do play an important role in a balanced diet that includes
fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products.
Fact: Processed meats come
in a variety of different formulations to meet many nutrition needs.
Some choices include low fat, fat free or regular processed meats;
processed meats made from beef, pork or poultry; and low-salt, cured
and uncured processed meats. Yet PCRM takes a broad swipe at an
entire and very diverse category of products. That's as stereotypical
as saying that all vegetarian diets are healthy when a diet of potato
chips, beer and lollipops - technically speaking - is a vegan diet.
Fact: Vegans Derive Far More
Nitrite From Their Vegetable Consumption Than Meat Eaters Derive From Cured
Meats. A liter of pomegranate juice contributes 100 times more
nitrite to the diet than a hot dog and a spinach salad and a ham sandwich
contribute about the same amount, according to one of the nation's leading
experts on nitrite and nitrate. In fact, less than five percent of
human nitrite intake comes from cured meats. Ninety-three percent is
contributed by vegetables and by saliva. Will PCRM recommend that
people stop eating vegetables or swallowing saliva? We hope not, because
leading experts doing cutting edge research at the National Institutes of
Health have found that nitrite is not just safe, it can be an important
treatment for sickle cell anemia, heart attacks, brain aneurysms, even an
illness that suffocates babies. 'The idea it's bad for you has not played
out,' NIH Researcher Mark Gladwin, M.D., has said publicly.
Likewise, Nathan Bryan, Ph.D.,
of the University of Texas-Houston Institute of Molecular Medicine,
another nitrite expert, told Food Quality magazine, 'Many studies
implicating nitrite and nitrate in cancer are based on very weak
epidemiological data. If nitrite and nitrate were harmful to us, then we
would not be advised to eat green leafy vegetables or swallow our own
saliva, which is enriched in nitrate.' .
Fact: The WCRF/AICR
report that PCRM cites made selective use of science. The WCRF review
has been viewed with skepticism by respected scientists. The report
is simply an analysis of existing epidemiological studies. For each
study cited by WCRF showing a relationship between meat and cancer, there
are many others (disregarded by WCRF) that show no relationship. In
July 2008, the prestigious Journal of the National Cancer Institute
published an article by a team of world-renowned cancer researchers who
cautioned the epidemiological research community about the limitations of
epidemiology and suggested that "...false positive results are a
common problem in cancer and other types of epidemiological
In addition, researchers from
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in a paper published in
the Annals of Oncology, (v. 19, October 2008) said, "The
substantial review of the evidence in the WCRF report demonstrates that
there is no discernible association between many forms of cancer and
specific dietary practices. There are still some very interesting
hypotheses to pursue, such as the value of an approach on the basis of the
food patterns rather than individual foods and nutrients, but the cupboard
is remarkably bare... In view of the fragile grounds on which the
conclusions of WCRF report on diet and cancer are based on, the information
to the media should have been more cautious." The bottom
line: The literature simply does not support the recommendations of
the WCRF report and, in turn, PCRM's outrageous claims.
Fact: Cancer rates broadly
and colon cancer rates specifically are declining, despite claims by PCRM
that they are increasing. Colorectal cancer rates have been declining
for most of the last two decades, according to the American Cancer Society,
and so have colon cancer mortality rates.
"Just as consumers need to
eat a healthy, balanced diet, they need balanced information. Check
with credible health sources like your doctor, dietician or the U.S.
Dietary Guidelines. You can be assured that they will tell you that a
healthy diet can include processed meats," Boyle said.