To the Editor:

Last Friday, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Surgeon General’s first report on health hazards of cigarette smoking, his office released a report linking smoking to several new chronic diseases. In addition to the previously-known lung and oral cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease, the new diseases include diabetes, erectile dysfunction, colon cancer and stroke.

The parallels between cigarette smoking and meat consumption are uncanny:

• The chronic diseases linked to both activities and the associated costs of medical care and lost productivity are comparable;

• The first government reports warning consumers about health hazards of cigarette smoking and meat consumption were issued in 1964 (by Surgeon General) and in 1977 (by Senate Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs), respectively;

• Both activities are discouraged by health advocates and both are declining.

But there is one important difference: the meat industry impacts more state economies with a stronger congressional clout than the tobacco industry. Consequently, a Surgeon General’s report on the hazards of meat consumption is most unlikely.

Our health remains our personal responsibility.

Mark Gifford


(4) comments


One huge difference: When I eat meat, the guy next to me doesn't get second-hand heart disease.

In other words, eating meat might harm *you*, but smoking can harm anyone in the same air space.

(Disclaimer: I'm both a smoker and a meat-eater; I try not to let either one bother anyone around me.)


And like others noted below, just about anything taken in certain quantities is bad for you.


Thanks for venting.

Frankly, most us don't need anyone to remind us that certain things, taken in certain quantities, are probably bad for us.

This would include you, and our government.

Dr Strangelove

I agree “Our health remains our personal responsibility.”

It all depends on how much a person eats—eating too much vegetables/fruits can kill you too. What I don’t understand is why you vegetarians/vegans worry about what other people eat? If you want to eat that way that’s your business; you people obvious don’t have much of a social life if all you do is worry what’s on other peoples plates?

Let’s get real the majority of heart disease in the U.S. are people overeating and being overweight—and yes there are overweight vegetarians/vegans. Life is all about choices I choose to eat meat with my vegetables in moderation—so stay off my plate Mark.

Here are some facts that our vegetarian/vegan friends don’t tell us.

Fruit and vegetables can be as germ-laden (unhealthy) as meat.

According to the CDC, foodborne Illnesses associated with the consumption of fresh fruits and produce account for approximately 12% of the reported foodborne illnesses in the United States. Altogether, the CDC estimates that food-borne illness causes 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States. And reported cases represent only a fraction of the actual number because a vast majority of sufferers don’t go to a doctor or get an exact diagnosis.

What many people don’t realize is that raw fruit and vegetables can also be risky. In a study of more than 100,000 illnesses linked to food between 1990 and 2006, they caused more problems than poultry and beef combined.

Now the fruit and vegetable only crowd always harp on the evils of meat but they never harp that fruit and vegetables are just as deadly. Every time there is a meat recall we get a letter on the evils of meat. Every time there is a vegetable/fruit recall they’re silent.


And it seems as if we are having more and more of the fruit /produce illness with in the last 2-3 years. Now it is suggested that all fruits and veg. be washed before eating. It used to be a person could walk up to their neighborhood produce stand and pick up an apple or a few grapes and start eating before leaving the stand. (after paying of course),

I wouldn't suggest doing that now, too many have had serious' illness ,some have died. This has even happened with the prewashed salads which supposedly have been washed 3 times. I never take them at their word since so many have become ill.
Of course most of our fruits and veg. are not coming from farmer Browns farm any longer but from some areas that I don't believe have any health standards or have had protection against different diseases such is required in the U.S.
We had the big cantaloupe scare a couple of years ago, and so much sickness,people were being advised to wash the outer peelings in water/alcohol solutions!

Anything can hurt a human being if it is done in access ,just because you eat fruit or shredded wheat, the person has to know when to stop eating.

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