clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Michael Symon Isn't Interested in Your Meat-Centric Cancer Scare, WHO

Stephen Colbert isn't happy, either.

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

In an attempt to suck all the joy out of life, the World Health Organization recently published a study that declares wonderful comestibles such as sausages, bacon, ham, baloney, and pancetta to be carcinogenic to humans. To make matters worse, even non-cured pork, beef, and lamb are labeled as "probably carcinogenic." Meat lovers everywhere are upset, and chef Michael Symon, perhaps America's most prominent meat lover, is putting the WHO on blast.

Symon boiled over on Facebook, calling the study a "witch hunt" and a "disservice."

To say I am disappointed in your witch hunt..errr "research" would be to put it mildly a understatement. First off why wouldn't you take this opportunity to talk about the huge division of meat and meat products that are out there. To group factory farmed, mass produced products loaded with hormones, words we can't pronounce and man made nitrates with beautifully raised, produced & crafted artisan products is an incredible disservice to those who work so hard to do things the right way.

The WHO wasn't the only target of Symon's ire. The Iron Chef also lambasted media outlets that ran the study with sensational headlines, saying it causes an "even larger problem."

Also the media using this research as "click on my page" gimmick with headlines such as "Bacon & Beef Kills!" just makes it an even larger problem. Lets talk about a couple facts here. You never mentioned anything about anyone that was tested diet or if they are rich in fiber and balanced with grains & vegetables. Also when digging deeper in the article it mentions that a diet filled these so called deadly products effects less than 1% of people or 30,000 people WORLDWIDE ANNUALLY. To put that in perspective deaths caused by car accidents and smoking where 1.3 million and 900,000 last year.

Symon noted his 97-year-old grandfather "called me today laughing about the article while enjoying a BLT from his couch." It seems that Symon's grandfather may be in the same camp as 116-year-old Susannah Mushatt Jones, the world's oldest woman, who earlier this month told USA Today she eats bacon daily.

The Cleveland chef isn't the only one pushing back against the study. In Germany, a nation famous for its sausages, minister for food and agriculture Christian Schmidt told Reuters, "No one should be afraid if they eat a bratwurst every now and then. People are being wrongly unsettled when eating meat is put on the same level as asbestos or tobacco." CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert was also taken aback: "How can cured meat be bad for you? It's got the word 'cure' right in the name."

So what's someone to do if they want to fight the supposed cancer that various meats might cause. Continue doing what they've likely always been doing: Compliment those meats with beer.