Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles In October 2015, The World Health Organization released a report, classifying red meat and processed meats as cancer risks. Although the link between processed meat consumption and cancer has been documented before, this marks the first time it has been listed alongside tobacco and asbestos as carcinogenic. The reclassification goes against the American meat industry's long history of promoting legislation to alter dietary guidelines in their favor. So we wanted to know, just how powerful is the meat industry? Well, overall, meat has been estimated to contribute nearly a trillion dollars to the US economy, roughly 6% of the GDP. Worldwide, livestock used for meat are actually responsible for more greenhouse emissions than even cars. But despite this, the massive flood of cash and jobs has made the meat lobby one of the most influential legislative groups in Washington. In 2014, they spent more than 4 million dollars lobbying Congress. By comparison, gun control advocates spent less than half that amount. The meat industry has also been closely tied to the US Department of Agriculture, which releases dietary guidelines for Americans. Understandably, the relationship between meat manufacturers and the US government has many questioning whether those guidelines are actually in Americans' best interests. Especially considering that the USDA even runs programs which are intended to fund advertising for meat and dairy. The Atlantic reports that at least since 1977, efforts by the USDA to suggest decreasing meat consumption have been repeatedly derailed. Due to pressure from the meat industry, instead of telling consumers to eat less, they have been told to eat more “lean” meats. But the overall recommended amount of meat has been kept relatively steady over the past few years. This, despite the fact that Americans on average actually consume considerably more protein than they need. Eating less meat overall would lower both fat and protein consumption, but for the meat industry, that might be their worst nightmare. And that's not because Americans themselves follow USDA guidelines all that strictly. American meat consumption has already been dropping over the past two decades. Rather, these guidelines are most utilized by federal feeding programs, like those used in schools and prisons. A lower recommended amount of meat would translate to a massive financial loss for suppliers. But the meat industry hasn't just influenced the USDA to keep meat amounts the same. It has also intervened in food safety. In the 1990s, attempts to start testing for salmonella in ground beef were opposed by the meat industry. A congressman with financial ties to the meat industry called for more hearings and delays against new food safety guidelines. Similarly, despite heavy support from environmental groups as well as the public, the USDA has refused to incorporate sustainability goals into their projected dietary guidelines. Luckily, the USDA's 2015 dietary guidelines are expected to actually impose some limits on meat consumption. In addition to advising against red and processed meat, they will also downplay the supposed health benefits of lean meats. However, final guidelines have not yet been released, and will no doubt be further influenced by the meat industry. Bacon is included among the list of meats with cancer risks, and for a long time, it's been a staple of American culture. To find out more about the history of bacon, check out this video by Secret Daily. It did take a hit around the 1980s and 90s, when the low fat diet became popular. But it did not end America's bacon passion. Around this time, the Atkins diet and low carb high protein movement started to gain popularity. So there was yet another shift in how Americans perceived bacon. Thanks for watching TestTube News! Make sure to like and subscribe for new videos everyday.