Meat producers questioned the conclusions of a World Health Organization report labeling processed meats as cancer-causing. Those concerns extended to Minnesota’s meat industry, particularly Hormel and Cargill.

“It does have some implications for red meat and processed meat sales,” said Mike Martin, a spokesman for Minnetonka-based Cargill, one of North America’s largest beef producers and also a maker of pork and processed meat products. “These [studies] come out and they concern people.”

Martin added: “It’s kind of ironic in that many countries around the world are desperately trying to increase the production of red meat because they need more complex proteins for a growing middle class.”

Austin-based Hormel Foods is a major meat producer, counting bacon, sausage and Spam among its many products. “Our Health, Science and Wellness Advisory Council will review this [WHO] report with our scientists and nutrition experts. However, these experts also understand that this report did not look at the benefits of meat consumption,” Hormel said in a press statement.