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Meat Institute finds fault with study on red meat consumption

March 07, 2013|By Mary MacVean
  • The American Meat Institute objects to the methods and conclusions of a red meat study published this week.
The American Meat Institute objects to the methods and conclusions of a… (Bloomberg )

The American Meat Institute has weighed in on a study published this week about eating red meat, and it objects to the study’s methods and conclusions.

Researchers using data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer of 449,000 people said that 3.3% of premature deaths could be prevented if the consumption of processed red meat -- sausages and bacon, for instance -- was below 20 grams per day.

But Betsy Booren, chief scientist at the American Meat Institute Foundation, issued a statement saying the study is “trying to identify a cause and effect relationship using a research approach that won’t permit such conclusions to be made.”

She criticized as unreliable data that come from participants trying to remember what they ate in the past.

"Then that data is run through statistical models and is presented as conclusive dietary recommendations for healthy living, when actual medical decisions should be made in consultation with your medical providers,” Booren said.

In any case, Booren said, Americans on average eat the approximate amount of red meat the researchers say is OK, and she said they “can feel confident that red meat consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet offers good nutrition and no increased risk of mortality.”

She also noted that the study found that fresh red meat did not increase mortality risk and that a small amount of red meat “appeared to be beneficial."

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