As I am an unrecoverable Uruguayan carnivore, I went a little deeper into the last WHO report about red and Processed Meat.
First of all, I have to make clear that I believe deeply on exemption and seriousness of the scientists who are part of that organization. They have already rectified and apologized to the world population due to errors committed sometimes assessment - which in itself speaks well of them - but in this case I do not think they have been wrong.
Who was really wrong, and very ugly wrong, are most newspapers and magazines I read. I saw once a movie about Randolph Hearst, who was the owner of a very important newspaper (or more than only one, I don´t remember). More or less, he used to tell to his editors that they never could let the truth or objectivity spoil them a headline. And that's the point I'm getting. Most of the world press was set on spectacular!
Going first to mathematics ... the WHO report reffers on "relative" Risk. There is a huge difference between relative risk and absolute risk. Exemplified in my words (maybe my great friend Adriana Gorga Arosa would do much better): if you bet at a casino twice a week, after having done just once, you increase your chances - or risk - of hitting in 100%. But you can not say that you increased your objective or absolute chances of winning significantly. That absolute chance (or "risk") has actually a very little change. Almost nothing. Can you see the difference between relative and absolute?
About the information itself, I gave myself the task of glancing a report by the American Institute for Cancer Research, one of the most respected institutions in the world as far as cancer research is concerned. I leave here in English, for everyone who want to see and here in Spanish (please see pages 8 and 9).
Regarding Processed Meat being together with snuff on a list... a knife, a gun and an atomic bomb would be placed, following the same criterion, in the same category. It is a valid criterion like onother one but, come on, you can not say that they are the same thing.
The snuff kills, according to the same WHO, one million people worldwide each year. Processed meat consumption 36.000. Red meats would Kill (kill!) 50.000. We are seven billion human beings!
I end here ... there are infinites more chances to be eaten by a shark, killed by a lightning or by the bite from a Naja Cobra in Uruguay. (Tip: there are no naja cobra in Uruguay).
* I translated this text for my English spoken friends from one another that I wrote in Spanish on my facebook.