Health Impact of Meat and Dairy

Does red meat cause cancer?

Yes

Information sourced from World Health Organisation, Cancer Council.

Last reviewed 21st April 2022

The World Health Organisation maintains a list of cancer causing substances. Processed red meats such as bacon, ham and sausage are in Group 1 meaning there is clear evidence they cause cancer. Unprocessed red meats such as beef and lamb are in Group 2A meaning they are likely to cause cancer.

Red meats are associated with an increased risk of colon and rectum cancer, and evidence also suggests they are associated with some other cancers, including prostate and pancreatic cancer. Processed meats are associated with an increased risk of colon and rectum cancer, and evidence also suggests they are associated with stomach cancer.

As a result of this evidence leading cancer charities recommend consuming less or no red meat.