Now that a World Health Organization agency has classified them as carcinogenic, bacon, ham and other processed meats could require warning labels in California.
Proposition 65, passed in 1986, requires California to compile a list of “chemicals known to increase cancer risk.” State health officials say they’re not sure if they’ll add processed meats.
Attorney Bruce Nye, who defends companies in Proposition 65 cases, says he thinks the likelihood is “pretty great.” He says California relies on the WHO classifications. In fact, state health officials can’t point to a substance that made the international list and not the state list. If the meats are added, Nye says grocers, butchers—the diner down the block will have to post a notification.
“It would have an obligation to provide a clear and reasonable warning that you are about to be exposed to a chemical or substance known to the state of California to cause cancer,” he said.
Nye thinks red meats could also make the list. The WHO labeled them as potentially carcinogenic.
This story was produced by Capital Public Radio.