Red and processed meats are cancer-causing, according to a new study by the World Health Organization.

Red meat presents “strong mechanistic evidence” of a carcinogenic effect in humans – and there’s even limited evidence the meats themselves start the development of cancer, according to the study, published by the journal Lancet Oncology.

Processed meats were listed as carcinogens outright, due to their observed effects in colorectal cancer, according to the WHO working group, made up of 22 experts from 10 countries affiliated with the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

“These findings further support current public health recommendations to limit intake of meat,” said Christopher Wild, the director of the IARC. “At the same time, red meat has nutritional value. Therefore, these results are important in enabling governments and international regulatory agencies to conduct risk assessments, in order to balance the risks and benefits of eating red meat and processed meat and to provide the best possible dietary recommendations.”

Red meats include muscle meat of mammals, including beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse and goat. Processed meats that were considered include hot dogs, ham, sausages, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat and meat-based sauces.

The group did a meta-analysis of 800 previous studies. Red meat was consistently linked with colorectal cancer most strongly, but was also connected to pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer, the scientists concluded.

Link >>>