Following the time-honored strategy of trying to accomplish through litigation that which they could not accomplish through legislation, vegan radicals at The Cancer Project are trying to get the New Jersey Supreme Court to force hot dog manufacturers to put scary warning labels on hot dog packages.
"Warning: Consuming hot dogs and other processed meats increases the risk of cancer."
That's the label that a vegan advocacy group wants a New Jersey court to order Oscar Mayer, Hebrew National and other food companies to slap on hot dog packages.
The nonprofit Cancer Project filed a lawsuit today on behalf of three New Jersey plaintiffs asking the Essex County superior court to compel the companies to place cancer-risk warning labels on hot dog packages sold in New Jersey.
"Just as tobacco causes lung cancer, processed meats are linked to colon cancer," says Neal Barnard, president of the Cancer Project and an adjunct professor at the George Washington University medical school in Washington, D.C. "Companies that sell hot dogs are well aware of the danger, and their customers deserve the same information."
The defendants in the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, include Nathan's Famous Inc., Oscar Mayer-owner Kraft Foods Inc., Sara Lee Corp., Marathon Enterprises Inc. and ConAgra Foods Inc., which owns Hebrew National.
The Cancer Project is an offshoot of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a vegan group that has engaged in, according to PhysicianScam.com, “20 years of animal rights propaganda disguised as medical advice”.
The purpose of The Cancer Project seems to be to go down the list of foods the vegans think we shouldn’t eat, and allege a cancer link for each one.
Well, what about the cancer claim made in the lawsuit? The L.A. Times article linked above says this:
In the lawsuit, the Cancer Project cites the role of nitrites, a preservative used in cured and processed meats such as hot dogs in the development of cancer-forming agents. During digestion, it breaks down into nitrosamines and other N-nitroso compounds that are considered carcinogens.
Although some medical studies link red and processed meats to cancer risk, it's not clear whether it is because of the nitrites or other factors such as the high fat content. "There is speculation that nitrosamines can increase cancer risk when consumed in large amounts and frequently. Occasionally should cause no worry. The stuff people typically have with a hot dog may be a more immediate concern: too many calories from all the fat-laden potato and macaroni salads, sugary drinks and sweet desserts," said Keith-Thomas Ayoob, a nutritionist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
An American Institute for Cancer Research report cited in the lawsuit notes that one 50-gram serving of processed meat -- about the amount in one hot dog -- consumed daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21%. Colorectal cancer kills about 50,000 Americans annually.
But a 2004 analysis by Harvard University researchers of pooled data from 14 studies in North America and Europe could not find a similar link between various red and processed meats and cancer. But they did find that higher consumption of poultry and fish may be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
If they can persuade the NJ Supremes that the science is settled on this issue – despite significant evidence to the contrary – Al Gore might want to enlist their help.