- Ten experts from different disciplines are questioning the research methods of the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) and United Nations Global Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling (GHS), calling them "outmoded hazard-based schemes," in a recent journal article, Meatingplace reported.
- The article, recently published in the journal of the International Society for Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, claimed that using these methods to evaluate and explain cancer risks could lead to "unfounded public concern and reactionary public policies," according to Meatingplace.
- "This hazard-identification only process places chemicals with widely differing potencies and very different modes of action into the same category," Alan Boobis, professor in the Department of Medicine at Imperial College in London, said in a news release. "The consequences are unnecessary health scares and unnecessary diversion of public funds."
Industry-funded health and nutrition research has been the source of much recent debate. A common assumption is that funders' potential bias could impact the researchers' final conclusions, or even the study's parameters themselves.
Now even the IARC, which is the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization, is at the center of debates and issues. This is concerning, especially for research on which government agencies and health experts base their recommendations. If experts or consumers perceive research from both industry and government research bodies to be biased or inaccurate, it complicates manufacturers' operations, from R&D to health-related label claims and marketing messages.
The dispute began last October when the IARC made official claims that linked red meat and processed meat to cancer. The meat industry pushed back against the claims, and this August, experts determined that IARC's research study methods may have been inaccurate, leading to unfounded conclusions about red meat.