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Just-Released Cancer Report Provides New Ammunition for Farm Bill Reform Effort

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An influential report on cancer prevention provides new ammunition for those working to reform federal food policy, say doctors with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The report was released today by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). A comprehensive review of more than 7,000 studies, the report confirms previous research showing that meat and alcohol consumption increase one's risk of cancer.

PCRM will use the findings in its efforts to reform the Farm Bill, a massive piece of legislation that defines federal food policy and determines what foods are grown in this country and how much they cost. The Senate is expected to vote on the multi-billion-dollar bill next week.

"The AICR report--with its irrefutable findings as to the link between diet and disease--should convince Congress to cut subsidies for unhealthy foods," says PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D. More than 80 percent of all federal subsidies for food production go toward sugar, oil, meat, dairy, alcohol, and feed crops used to fatten farm animals, contributing to our high rates of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Less than one half of one percent goes to fruits and vegetables. "This subsidy system is making us sick and it's time we did something about it," says Dr. Barnard.

Over the past several months, a broad range of medical and health professionals and institutions have called on Congress to cut subsidies for high-cholesterol, high-fat foods. In June, the American Medical Association (AMA) recommended that subsidies and food assistance programs be based on health. In August, the President's Cancer Panel echoed the call for reform. Last week, the Maryland State Medical Society and the Medical Society of the District of Columbia sent Congress a petition signed by more than 100 hospitals calling for lawmakers to make the same dramatic changes to the Farm Bill that the AMA supports.

PCRM and its affiliate The Cancer Project have also gathered signatures from hundreds of medical professionals around the country supporting similar changes to federal food policy. And PCRM has come out in support of the FRESH Act, a bipartisan Farm Bill reform measure authored by Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. The FRESH Act would cut subsidies for corn and other feed crops used to produce high-fat meat products, corn syrup, and other unhealthy foods and encourage farmers to plant more fruits and vegetables.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

SOURCE Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
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