Editor's Blog: This too shall pass

by Lawrence Aylward
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Four days after the meat industry’s Black Monday — the day the World Health Organization announced that processed meats cause cancer and that red meat probably causes cancer — I was shopping the meat case at my local supermarket. I asked an employee if the recent news had turned the meat department desolate, not unlike a boarded-up neighborhood in a bad part of town.

The employee rolled his eyes, noting that most people have become utterly annoyed at such reports. And, no, the meat department hadn’t gone the way of Chernobyl, he told me. It had been as busy as ever.

A few days later, I stopped by the deli department at another area supermarket. “Everything is the same,” the deli clerk told me when I asked him if the cancer report had any impact.

Something tells me that it’s business as usual at most meat departments and delis throughout the US and the world.

I’m the last of the baby boomers, born in the early 1960s, and I’ve seen the “Meat Causes Cancer” movie many times before. Like a lot of people, I’m tired of it. Turn the channel, please.

OK, I know I’m preaching to a great big choir here. And you need to know that I’m not shilling for the industry because I happen to work for this magazine.

I’m speaking as a middle-aged consumer. In fact, I’m as Joe Consumer as you can get.

And that’s my point. The Joe and Jane Consumers of the world — the ordinary, average people — aren’t going to freak out over this report and stop eating processed meat and poultry or feeding it to their families. They will continue to eat and enjoy these products as they always have. They realize it’s more dangerous to drive on the interstate than it is to eat a bologna sandwich.

So my message to the meat and poultry industry is: This too shall pass.
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