Anyone familiar with Chef Michael Symon knows that the guy loves burgers:
So when the World Health Organization (WHO) released its recent report that bacon, sausage, and other meats can cause colon cancer, they really struck a nerve with the protein aficionado.
Don’t let the smile fool you, WHO. This cat will straight cut you.
Symon took to his Facebook page with a rather lengthy post that accused the WHO of a “witch hunt,” and raised several red flags about how this study was conducted, and what it aimed to achieve.
1. Lumping All Meat in Together
As a chef, Symon doesn’t believe that all meat is created equal. Bologna you buy at a gas station is not the same as the flank steak you buy from an artisan butcher. “To group factory-farmed, mass-produced products loaded with hormones, words we can’t pronounce, and man-made nitrates with beautifully raised, produced, and crafted artisan products is an incredible disservice to those who work so hard to do things the right way.”
2. No Variety in Test Subjects
Symon wanted to know why the study didn’t mention any participants whose diets were “rich in fiber and balanced with grains and vegetables.” The point being: if people were eating a lot of meat but were also consuming an entirely unbalanced diet otherwise, it might have skewed the results.
3. How Little People the Study Actually Affects
Symon points out that buried deep in the study is the caveat that a diet filled with these allegedly deadly products is really only a reality for about 30,000 people. “It effects [sic] less than 1% of people, or 30,000 people WORLDWIDE ANNUALLY.” Sure, that’s still a lot of people whose lives (or at least health) is at risk, but it’s not exactly a widespread pandemic.
4. Media Coverage
Although not necessarily the fault of the WHO, the click-baity nature of how the report was covered by media outlets also fueled his anger. “The media using this research as ‘click on my page’ gimmick with headlines such as ‘Bacon & Beef Kills!’ just makes it an even larger problem.”
Calling Symon’s statement a “rant” would be too extreme. His approach is measured, reminding us that “life is about balance,” and that obviously “if you ate pounds of bacon, beef and hot dogs daily that it would be bad for you.” To be fair, a report on meat being a bonafide carcinogen can’t make a guy who recently launched a high end burger joint too happy. But it looks like he’s taking this all in stride: “My 97 year grandfather called me today laughing about the article while enjoying a BLT from his couch.” Lucky for him, it seems that the backlash has already begun on how verifiable the report’s findings actually are. You can check out Chef Symon’s post in its entirety below: