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Cancer risk from red meat 'overestimated'

Members of the British meat industry and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) are engaged in a row over whether or not red meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.

The debate relates to a report which was initially published by the WCRF in 2007 which was widely used to demonstrate a link between eating red meat and developing cancer.

However, Dr Stewart Truswell and Dr Dominik Alexander of the universities of Sydney and Exponent respectively, have since carried out a review of the study which revealed a number of inconsistencies and errors.

It is thought that these mistakes lead the report to overestimate the risk of cancer.

In light of the review, the National Farmer's Union (NFU) board chairman, Alistair Mackintosh, said: "I am appalled that flawed evidence has been used to draw links between eating red meat and cancer.

"The NFU is calling for the World Cancer Research Fund to recognise the discrepancies that have been highlighted and accept that these errors could have potentially contributed to an overestimation of the association between eating red meat and the risk of colorectal cancer."

He added that the NFU had always advocated eating lean red meat as part of a healthy balanced diet.

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