Beef Board Chairman hopes consumers can make informed choices with new WHO report

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At Brown Bear's Hot Dogs in North Fresno, you can order just about any kind of hot dog you want.

"Oh my god, we have a lot to choose from," said Benjerman Raya, Brown Bear's Owner. "A lot."

There are 19 different kinds of Nathan's kosher dogs to be exact, including vegetarian options. But most of their 9,000 monthly customers go for something like the chili dog, which truth be told, is a lot of processed meat-that can cause certain kinds of cancer, according to a new World Health Organization report.

But not everyone is buying into the findings.

"I was reading today about fish, and it says it has mercury, so you know everything you eat, you gotta eat a little bit of it," said Brown Bear's customer Gilbert Castanon.

The North American Meat Institute says the report is alarmist and defies common sense and other studies that show no correlation between meat and cancer.

"It is something to do with America saying you can't eat this, you can't eat that, you can't breathe the air, you can't drive a car this way, you can't do this, you can't do that," said Raya. "OK what can we do but eat?"

"Observational studies are very hard and single items that they look at, none of us eat that way" said Beef Board Chairman Jimmy Maxey.

He agrees that it's all about a healthy, balanced, lifestyle, which he believes should include high quality proteins like red meat and beef. He says processed meats are an essential part of the Mediterranean Diet.

"And this (report) will be maybe one thing that they look at, but an isolated study is not what any of us need to look at. We need to look at a good, balanced lifestyle."

Maxey trusts consumers will take a look at the broader picture, and understand that this research doesn't take important risk factors into consideration. More research will surface, he says, and hot dogs will still be around. Consumers will have to choose whether they'd like to keep eating them, or not.
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