AHDB demands The Lancet takes down anti-red meat report

Medical journal The Lancet is under mounting pressure from the AHDB to formally retract a study that alleges links between red meat consumption and mortality.

The AHDB has sent an open letter to the journal, formally demanding that the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study 2019 (GBD) is removed until such time as it can provide evidence that the paper went through “proper due process and scrutiny”.

See also: Meat bodies urge journal to remove ‘flawed’ anti-meat report

It is the latest move in a nine-month series of exchanges between the two organisations about the paper, which claimed that since the previous GBD study in 2017 there had been a 36-fold increase in the number of deaths attributed to eating red meat.

Although the report’s authors have insisted that there are no errors in their study, the AHDB is not satisfied and wants it taken down.

Its chief executive, Tim Rycroft, said it was “imperative” that due process and critical review were followed “to ensure the greatest accuracy and, not least, legitimacy”.

“It is of the upmost importance that this data is held to the highest intellectual scrutiny to ensure accuracy and appropriate influence in human health,” he said in his letter to The Lancet‘s editor-in-chief, Prof Richard Horton.

He added that the AHDB had yet to see evidence from The Lancet which demonstrated that it followed international best-practice guidelines and that all supporting data was peer-reviewed.

The GBD study is an extremely influential dataset and is used by policymakers globally to shape dietary and health guidelines.

The AHDB said the authors of the 2019 study had published another paper, in late 2022, which found “weak evidence of association between unprocessed red meat consumption and colorectal cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and ischemic heart disease”.

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