The Beyond Meat website has quietly removed a likely inaccurate statistic that purported to show that eating meat increases the likeliness of developing heart disease by 21 per cent and getting cancer by 16 per cent.
The statistic originated from a 2012 Harvard study which focused exclusively on the negative impact of consuming highly processed meat products such as hot dogs or bacon. It did not apply to all red meat, specifically fresh meat, poultry, or fish. Below the graphic was an easily miscible footnote which specified that fresh meat was not part of the study that produced the statistics displayed.
For misleadingly publishing this statistic on their website, Beyond Meat had been coming under heavy criticism that they were “marketing its vegetarian burger as healthier than meat without the science to prove it,” reports CBC.
The company denied that their reason for removing the graphic was the criticism it received, instead saying that the removal was part of a larger update to add more information.
The study itself had also received heavy criticism and had been delayed for review several times, in large part due to the rapidly changing nature of the health science landscape.
“Where is their research saying that — that this is better than eating a small, portion-controlled, lean piece of meat?”said dietitian and nutritionist Rosie Schwartz.
“Science is not an absolute, things evolve,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a professor at Dalhousie University specializing in food distribution and policy.
Charlebois also pointed to an opposing study which suggested the complete opposite of what Beyond Meat had reported: that adults do not need to cut back on their meat consumption.