According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 140,000 cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, making it the second leading cause of cancer-related death. The Cancer Project, an affiliate of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), found a 21% increase in the risk of colorectal cancer per the 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily. Recently, the PCRM launched a campaign on an Indianapolis highway billboard that displays packaged hot dogs with a warning label in a similar light to cigarettes.
While the PCRM might get written off as another health organization trying to “scare” Americans, perhaps warning labels on processed foods would deter consumers from purchase. Since warning labels became a legal requirement, cigarette sales have decreased. Moreover, as cigarette advertisements are restricted to certain mediums, there’s only so much temptation that cigarette companies can offer consumers.
As more health organizations produce research on cancer linkages to processed foods, perhaps the federal government will demand heavier disclosure on these foods’ effects on the human body.