The Cancer Project has filed suit against five hot dog makers to require them to put cancer-risk warning labels on hot dog packages. The labels would read “Warning: Consuming hot dogs and other processed meats increases the risk of cancer.”
The suit, filed on behalf of three New Jersey residents, is a class action consumer fraud action, saying that Nathan’s Famous, Kraft Foods/Oscar Mayer, Sara Lee, Con Agra Foods, and Marathon Enterprises knew that eating processed meats increased cancer risk but didn’t warn consumers.
The lawsuit is based on a report from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, which recommends eating no more than 18 ounces of red meat a week and avoiding processed meats. The AICR report found a 21 percent increase in colorectal cancer in people who eat a daily 50 gram serving of processed meat (equivalent to about one hot dog) over those who eat no processed meat.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) takes no stand on the lawsuit’s demand for hot dog labeling. They say,
- AICR does not take a position on the need for warning labels on hot dogs.
- AICR is an independent, research-based organization. We fund research on diet and cancer at laboratories, clinics and cancer centers across the country. We also periodically collect and interpret the available data on diet and cancer and issue recommendations for cancer prevention.
- AICR is not associated with the Cancer Project, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine or any other advocacy organization.
Summarizing its report, AICR recommends three inter-related steps for cancer prevention:
- Be as lean as possible, without becoming underweight.
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
- Avoid sugary drinks. limit consumption of energy-dense foods (particularly processed foods high in added sugar, or low in fiber, or high in fat).