A recent study by the American Cancer Society linking nitrites and nitrate compounds, often found in processed meats, to increased bladder cancer risk is unfounded, says the American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF).

The study published in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, followed 300,000 men and women aged 50 to 71 from eight states for up to eight years, assessing relationships between intake of meat-related compounds and the risk of developing bladder cancer.

Researchers with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) suggest there appears to be some association between processed meats and increased bladder cancer risk, but admit that comprehensive epidemiological data on meat-related exposures and bladder cancer are lacking.

AMIF President James Hodges says the NCI study creates unnecessary confusion and defends processed meats as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Ceci Snyder, vice president of marketing, National Pork Board, says “the study associations reported are not statistically significant, which means that the findings could have happened as much by chance as anything.”

Moreover, “the data does not support any negative findings against meat,” she says.