PETA grilled on its "chicken little" cancer clucking

You know I'd rather eat a pound of nails than defend any part of the fast-food or mainstream restaurant business, but fair is fair

According to a recent article on (not a tier-one source, but a place I occasionally get something interesting from), a group called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is suing fast-food giants McDonald's, Burger King, and Chick-fil-A - as well as major mainstream restaurants Applebee's, Chili's, TGI Friday's, and Outback Steakhouse. Their transgression, according to the PCRM:

Selling grilled chicken products that are laced with a carcinogenic compound.

Now, this sounds like it could be a big deal - a real public health crisis, right? And indeed, a cursory reading of the PCRM's charges seems enough to get anyone's dander up. The credible-sounding group claims that samples of grilled chicken from each of these restaurants tested positive for a chemical called PhIPm, one of a group of cancer-causing compounds called HCAs.

Seemingly bolstering their argument is the fact that HCA has been officially recognized by the U.S. government as carcinogenic-and that the state of California has listed PhIPm in particular as a cancer-causing chemical for more than a decade

Sounds open and shut, doesn't it? Time to slap on the warning labels or enact bans, right?

Not so fast. First off, the NewsTarget piece - which is based solely on a PRESS RELEASE from the PCRM - fails to specify:

  • How much PhIPm is in the average piece of grilled chicken (there's at least a trace of something that may cause cancer in just about everything you can eat, drink, breathe, or wear)
  • How much PhIPm is considered "unsafe" - and by whose measure
  • How much restaurant-grilled chicken would you have to consume to increase your risk of developing cancer

As if this didn't raise a red flag for you, consider this: The PCRM's president claims that because of these HCAs, the seemingly healthier grilled chicken selections are actually "as bad for (people) as high-fat fried chicken."

As anyone with half a brain knows, it isn't the fat in chicken (or even the frying grease, if it's pure lard) that causes problems for the heart and arteries - it's all the flour and breading they coat the yard-bird in that's deadly, especially once it soaks up what most restaurants use for frying: Vegetable oil that's loaded with killer trans-fats!

That's why, to the truly medically educated (such as, say, a country doctor like me), the PCRM's sky-is-falling rhetoric about grilled chicken doesn't pass muster. If it doesn't ring true to you, either, you're smarter than the average bear. Besides this, you've got a good nose for propaganda Because guess what? Despite its earnest-sounding name, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (which is made up of less than 5% actual doctors) is nothing more than a front group for PETA - that's right, the militant animal-rights fringe that would outlaw meat, leather, animal testing, hunting, and fishing. Protecting animals is their real agenda, not responsible medicine, a balanced diet, or your health.

That's why they're clucking about carcinogenic grilling - because healthy chickens are more important to them than healthy people!

Bottom line: MEDICALLY (not politically) speaking, you're far less likely to develop cancer or other diseases from eating restaurant grilled chicken - even from fast-food joints - than if you eat what the PETA crowd would feed you: Tofu this, soy that, fattening grains and artery-clogging vegetable fats instead of butter and lard

If you really want a good cancer scare, do a little digging into what these things will do to you, especially the soy products.

Truthfully reporting what they're distorting,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.