Professor Robert Pickard, emeritus professor of neurobiology at Cardiff University, said the agricultural industry had been ‘the butt of an enormous journalistic effort to sell copy by producing totally indefensible headlines’ about red meat causing cancer.
Prof Pickard also hit out at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report which claimed processed meats ‘definitely’ cause cancer and lean red meat ‘probably’ causes cancer.
Speaking at NFU Cymru’s annual conference in Llandrindod Wells last week (November 7), he said: “There is not a single proven case of eating red meat or processed meat actually causing a cancer.
“This [is not] objective scientific analysis. This has been put together by people who have their own agenda, which is nothing to do with the nutritional benefit of red meat and red meat products.
“Look at the listing into which they put processed meat. You have got arsenic, you have got diesel exhausts, you have even got plutonium. No serious scientist would do this.
“If you feed plutonium to laboratory mice, they will develop tumours, sometimes within days. After about three or four weeks, they will all be developing tumours.
“If you feed processed meat to the same laboratory mice, they will just get fat.”
Prof Pickard went on to say he has not had a single complaint from the authors of the report, despite publicly criticising it in the years since its publication.
“But I have had lots of letters from other people in the scientific community, and practising doctors, saying ‘thank you very much for putting the record straight’,” he added.
“Red meat is the most nutritious food you have available on your plate. It contains all the minerals, all the vitamins, all the protein amino acids which are required in the correct ratio and all the fats which are required in the correct ratio.
“It is the most perfect food for a human being, and coming close behind it is milk. Babies build their entire bodies getting nothing but milk for months and months.”