The World Health Organization Just Categorized Bacon As Cancer-Causing

Because the world wasn’t a sad enough place already, a report released by the World Health Organization today has classified bacon and other processed meats like sausage and pastrami as “carcinogenic to humans.” That’s the WHO’s highest rank for cancer risk — where cigarettes, arsenic, and asbestos are categorized.

Though the “cured meat = cigarettes” news is sure to be terrifying to a bacon-obsessed world, what the WHO report really calls for is a balanced diet. Dr. Kurt Sraif of WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said the following:

For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed. In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.

Basically, you don’t have to cut it completely, but gnawing on salami every time you feel peckish probably isn’t wise. WHO-related headlines this morning are sure to blow things out of proportion a tad, while “moderation, moderation, moderation,” has been the early reaction from doctors outside WHO.  Still, even scientists challenging the WHO report, like Dr. Ian Johnson from the Institute of Food Research, admit there is “epidemiological evidence for a statistically significant association between processed meat consumption and bowel cancer.

So until the joint scientific task force from Jimmy Dean and Oscar Meyer can prove otherwise, the World Health Organizations’s classification of processed meat as carcinogenic to humans is likely to remain for some time. This announcement will probably create a stigma in the meat industry that “could take decades and billions of dollars to change.”

At the very least, the WHO’s report will hopefully bring people to think about their health and their future before they dab bacon chapstick on their lips, scoop a heaping ladle of bacon soup into a bowl that is also made of bacon, and then make love to their special someone while sheathed in a bacon condom. Yes, all of those products are real — because bacon is a $4 billion a year industry. And that number presumably doesn’t include the money spent on stupid (albeit adorable) crap like this:

WHO report or no, maybe it’s time we cool it on the bacon for a bit. We don’t have to go cold turkey, but we should maybe ease off. Or, considering that the average American eats 18 pounds of bacon a year, maybe we should slow down a bit more than a bit.

Since we ought not eat actual bacon quite so much anymore, maybe we can substitute that recently discovered seaweed that tastes like bacon into our BLTs. That should last us for a solid decade or so before the WHO releases another study that outlines the new and exciting ways that bacon seaweed will kill us too.