Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Billboards warn of cancer risk, hot dogs in school meals
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine — a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors — has placed two billboards warning Carson City residents cancer-causing processed meats such as hot dogs don’t belong in school meals. Nevada has the No. 4 colorectal cancer death rate in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Carson City Mayor Robert Crowell also was petitioned to remove processed meats from schools.
The billboards, which are located on 4440 U.S. Highway 50 East and 5354 U.S. Highway 50 East, feature the image of a skull and crossbones formed from a sausage patty and hot dogs and warn “Cancer-Causing Foods Don’t Belong in Schools. Processed Meats Cause Cancer. DropTheHotDog.org.” The billboards coincide with National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
“Citizens in colorectal cancer hot spots like Carson City are facing death by deli meat,” says Physicians Committee dietitian Karen Smith, R.D. “Taking cold cuts and other processed meats like hot dogs and bacon out of school meals could help prevent future fatalities.”
The doctors group also sent the Coordinator of Nutritional Services for Carson City School District a toolkit on the dangers of processed meats and tips for removing them from school meals.
A recent World Health Organization report found processed meats such as hot dogs, pepperoni, bacon, sausage, and deli meats are “carcinogenic to humans.” The authors highlighted a meta-analysis that found each 50 gram portion of processed meat — approximately the size of a typical hot dog — eaten daily increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. The report also observed associations between red and processed meat products and stomach, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.
In October, the Physicians Committee filed a petition calling upon the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop offering processed meats for purchase, subsidy, and reimbursement under the National School Lunch Program and National School Breakfast Program. The petition asks USDA to encourage schools that offer processed meats to include alternatives to these products in menus.
The Physicians Committee also placed billboards in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and West Virginia, which are also among the top six states with the highest colorectal cancer death rates.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization who promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.