Two days ago Beef Information Centre corporate dietitian Carolyn Kallio wrote a letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun. In her letter, "Canadian Beef is Healthy and Nutritious" Carolyn asserts the following,
"Red meat, in particular beef, is healthy and nutritious, and an important part of a balanced diet."Now Carolyn of course, as a corporate dietitian working for the Beef Information Centre, certainly has a vested interest in a positive spin on beef but the thing is according to the Jurisprudence Handbook for Dietitians in Ontario (where she's a member) and according to a common sense of ethics and morality, that shouldn't matter as her first priority as a registered dietetic professional should be to society and not to her employer and therefore her communications to the public must always provide evidence-based, unbiased information.
"Despite the naysayers, there is no convincing evidence that consuming moderate amounts of fresh red meat as part of a healthy balanced diet increases the risk of cancer."
It seems like Carolyn may have forgotten that fact.
I say this because to me it is inconceivable that anyone schooled in nutrition and caring of professional ethics would feel comfortable stating that red meat is healthy and nutritious while willfully omitting the incredibly large body of evidence that has linked red and processed meat consumption with increased risk of colon cancer.
The most robust piece of evidence highlighting this link, evidence that absolutely lies within the scope of knowledge required by Carolyn both to do her job for the Beef Information Centre and simply by her as a dietetic professional, was last year's World Cancer Research Fund report Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective.
So how robust is the World Cancer Research Fund report? Its creation involved 9 independent teams of global scientists, hundreds of peer reviewers, 21 internationally renowned experts, and 5 years of time for them to review and analyze more than 7,000 large scale studies for the effects of diet on cancer.
Among their many conclusions was that red meat consumption is far from healthy.
In fact they concluded that a daily consumption of just 48 grams of processed meat boosts the risk of colon cancer by 21 per cent and every 48 grams of red meat consumption beyond a weekly limit of 500grams increases colon cancer risk by 15 per cent.
Her willful omission of these clear cut risks in her very public letter to the editor are made all the more disturbing by the tenor of her letter which reads that red meat and processed meats are, "healthy and nutritious" and that only quacks (the naysayers) would say otherwise. It is therefore an omission that when coupled with her letter could in fact endanger a public that may take her reassurance as a registered dietetic professional that beef is, "healthy and nutritious" and nothing to worry about, at face value.
I guess the experts who wrote that report are Carolyn's "naysayers".
So who are they?
Scroll down for complete bios but suffice it to say those pesky naysayers include:
What a bunch of hacks....I think I'll trust the corporate dietitian working for the Beef Information Centre.
Ok, maybe not. And it's a shame as frankly my vested interest is in healthy red meat too because I find red meat to be absolutely delicious. Too bad about my ethics telling me that I can't go around trying to convince myself or others that it's healthy to eat.
So what have I done?
I took the opportunity to write a letter to the editor of the paper and more importantly a letter to the College of Dietitians of Ontario explaining what to me seems like a very clear cut case of a dietitian breaking their professional code of conduct whereupon she seems to have forgotten that the public's interest takes precedence over the folks' who write her paychecks.
I know a lot of dietitians read my blog. What do you folks think? Feel free to leave anonymous comments.
Sir Dr. Michael Marmot MB BS MPH PhD FRCP FFPH, Director of the International Institute for Society and Health, Chair of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health. He leads the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and is engaged in several international research efforts on the social determinants of health. He chairs the Department of Health Scientific Reference Group on tackling health inequalities and has been awarded He won the Balzan Prize for Epidemiology in 2004, gave the Harveian Oration in 2006 and the William B. Graham Prize for Health Services Research in 2008. In 2000 he was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen for services to Epidemiology and understanding health inequalities.
Dr. Tola Atinmo, Professor of Nutrition University of Ibadan Nigeria, past president of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria and past chairman of the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Ibadan. He is a consultant to the World Bank, UNICEF, WHO, FAO and UNU on Food and Nutrition Security issues and Micronutrient malnutrition
Dr. Tim Byers MD MPH University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre Denver, CO, USA, deputy director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center and former chief of the Chronic Disease Prevention Branch of the Nutrition Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Dr. Junshi Chen MD Senior Research Professor at the Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, People's Republic of China
Dr. Tomio Hirohata MD DrScHyg PhD Professor Emeritus of the Kyushu University Medical School and the Research Supervisor for the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Japan, Kyushu University Fukuoka City Japan
Dr. Alan Jackson CBE MD FRCP FRCPCH FRCPath Director of the University of Southampton's Institute of Human Nutrition, appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to public health and nutrition, Chair of the Government's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, senior adviser to the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Committee of the United Nations, University of Southampton UK
Dr. W Philip T James CBE MD DSc FRSE FRCP Chairman of the International Obesity Task Force London, UK
Dr. Laurence N Kolonel MD PhD, Center Deputy Director, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, Professor, Harvard School of Public Health, University of Hawaii Honolulu, HI, USA
Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika PhD MPH, Senior Advisor to the Center for Public Health Initiatives, Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Pediatrics, Section on Nutrition, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Associate Dean for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, School of Medicine, Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Senior Fellow, Institute on Aging, School of Medicine, Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, Director, Penn-Cheyney EXPORT Center for Inner City Health, University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA USA
Dr. Claus Leitzmann PhD Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany, Director, Institute of Nutritional Sciences, University of Giessen, 1990 – 95, Journal “UGB-Forum”; consulting editor, Journal “Nutrition Ecology”; co-editor, Journal of Oncology; editorial board. Author of 27 books and over 400 publications on various aspects of nutrition
Dr. Jim Mann DM PhD FFPH FRACP Professor in Human Nutrition and Medicine at the University of Otago and Consultant Physician (Endocrinology) in Dunedin Hospital New Zealand, Director of the recently established Edgar National Centre for Diabetes Research and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Human Nutrition, Chair of the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group of the European Association for the study of Diabetes, the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand, the Cardiovascular Guidelines Group and the convenor of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Advisory Group: Carbohydrates and human health. Awarded the international Bristol-Myers Squibb/Mead Johnson Unrestricted Grant for Human Nutrition, was the third recipient of the University of Otago Distinguished Research Medal in 2002 and in 2004 he received the Sir Charles Hercus Medal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Medicine in 2003. He was also awarded the Distinguished Researcher Award from the Dunedin School of Medicine for 2005.
Dr. Hilary J Powers PhD RNutr Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, University of Sheffield, UK, Member, WCRF/AICR Expert Panel on Diet, Physical Exercise and Cancer, BBSRC DRINC Committee, BBSRC Agri-Food Committee, 2002-2006, Editor, Nutrition Research Reviews, 1997-2006, External Reviewer, Rowett Research Institute (BBSRC) Aberdeen, Member, BBSRC Evaluating group for the Institute of Food Research, Norwich. Editor, Human Nutrition (Elsevier, 2005)
Dr. K Srinath Reddy MD DM MSc President, Public Health Foundation of India, Coordinator of the Initiative for Cardiovascular Health Research in the Developing Countries, and former Chair of the Department of Cardiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and of the Scientific Council on Epidemiology of the World Heart Federation (2003-2006). Awarded the prestigious national award PADMA BHUSHAN by the President of India (one of the highest civilian awards conferred by the Government of India) on the occasion of the 57th Republic Day of India, in 2005. The Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, UK, conferred the award of the Queen Elizabeth Medal for 2005.
Dr. Elio Riboli MD ScM MPH Chair in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Division of Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care, Imperial College London, UK, has co-authored over 310 peer-reviewed publications and over 100 book chapters and books and serves on editorial boards of major journals on nutrition, cancer and epidemiology.
Dr. Juan A Rivera PhD Founding Director, Center for Research in Nutrition and Health, National Institute of Public Health, Mexico, Professor of Nutrition at the School of Public Health in Mexico, Adjunct Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, former Director of Nutrition and Health at the Nutrition Institute of Central America and Panama (INCAP).
Dr. Arthur Schatzkin MD DrPH Chief of the Nutritional Epidemiology Branch and Senior Investigator, National Cancer Institute Rockville, MD, received the NIH Merit Award in 1996.
Dr. Jacob C Seidell PhD Professor of Nutrition and Health and Director of the Institute for Health at the Faculty of Life and Earth Sciences, Free University Amsterdam The Netherlands, former Head of the Department for Chronic Diseases Epidemiology at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, and former President of the European Association for the Study of Obesity
Dr. David E Shuker PhD FRSC The Open University Milton Keynes, UK, Advisor to the Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment, member of UK Department of Health Committee on Carcinogenicity.
Dr. Ricardo Uauy MD PhD Professor of Nutrition and Pediatrics and former Director of Instituto de Nutricion y Tecnologia de los Alimentos Santiago, Chile's training programs, the Clinical Research Center, the Division of Human Nutrition and Medical Sciences and was resident-coordinator for UN University activities. Former President of the Chilean Nutrition Society and has participated as an expert in WHO/FAO on Protein and Energy Requirements 1981, Fats and Oils in Human Nutrition 1993, Food Based Dietary Guidelines 1987, Obesity 1997, Nutrition in the Elderly 1998, Human Nutritional Requirements for vitamins and minerals 1998. Protein Energy working group 2001. Energy Recommendations 2001. He was a member of the NIH (USA) Nutrition Study Section. He is on the editorial boards for Early Human Development, Nutritional Biochemistry, Journal of Pediatrics and Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. From 1995 to 2000 he was a member of the UN ACC/SCN Advisory Group in Nutrition (AGN) and chairman of the AGN for 1997-2000. He was elected as a member of the IUNS council in 1997 and chosen as president elect in 2001 and received the McCollum award presented by the American Society for Nutritional Sciences (USA) in 2000
Dr. Walter C Willett MD DrPH Chair, Department of Nutrition, Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health Boston, MA, Second most cited scientist in the history of clinical medicine, author of Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, he is also one of the principal investigators on the Nurses Health Study, one of the largest, long-term studies to look at the effect of diet on health.
Dr. Steven H Zeisel MD PhD, Kenan Distinguished University Professor in Nutrition and Pediatrics; former Chairman, Department of Nutrition; Director Nutrition Research Institute, Director UNC Human Clinical Nutrition Research Center, Director UNC Center for Excellence in Children’s Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the center director of the NIDDK-funded UNC Clinical Nutrition Research Unit.