Bacon lovers, it may not be easy to brush off the World Health Organization’s new ruling that red and processed meats cause cancer — at least not in California.
Following WHO’s Monday announcement classifying processed meats — such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and ham — and red meats — including beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse and goat — as carcinogens, California should now require those products sold in the state to carry a warning label in accordance with Proposition 65, says the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity.
“The World Health Organization has put these meats in the same category as cigarettes in terms of the death and danger they deliver,” Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement sent to The Huffington Post. “Now, California must follow suit with public health warnings on the label. And it’s no surprise: the science has been clear that these meats are bad for people, not to mention for wildlife and the planet.”
Prop 65, passed in 1986, requires California to create a state list of all chemicals and substances identified by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as “carcinogenic to humans,” the most dangerous level, which processed meats fall under; “probably carcinogenic to humans … with sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals,” the second-most dangerous level, which red meat falls under; and “possibly carcinogenic to humans … with sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.” Businesses, the law notes, are required to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before exposing anyone to a listed substance.
The warning may be in the form of a label on the meat’s packaging, a sign or menu notation where the meat is sold or “a system of signs, public advertising identifying the system and toll-free information services,” the law states.
The California attorney general’s office, which is tasked with enforcing Prop 65, did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment on how WHO’s announcement will affect meat labeling in California.
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