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Behind the fuss over food

This article is over 6 years, 2 months old
Issue 2477

 You may be worried that your next bacon sarnie could give you cancer.

The press jumped on “news” that a World Health Organisation (WHO) study confirmed steadily building evidence that eating certain meat was linked to cancer.

Editors didn’t let facts get in the way of a sensational story—“sausages rank alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer,” said one stupid newspaper. 

It isn’t true. The WHO’s classifications are about how confident it is that something causes cancer. They are not about how much cancer it causes. 

The risk from tobacco, for instance, is much higher.

Cancer Research said there would be over 60,000 fewer cases of cancer in Britain per year if no one smoked. That compares to less than 10,000 fewer if no one ate red or processed meat.

The media always blames individuals for their “choices”—don’t eat too much this or that.They don’t look at what limited choices people have. 

Poverty, poor working conditions and housing all affect health. Cheaper food is less healthy. And big food businesses adulterate our food with all sorts of dodgy preservatives and flavourings.

That’s why a sugar tax is not the answer to poor health or obesity. 

We should force the food industry to pay for the health problems it creates.

A sugar tax will simply be another tax on the poor.

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