The Plant Based Health Professionals had called for the NHS to take bacon and sausage off the menu.
A group of medics suggesting hospitals should stop serving sausages and bacon have misunderstood the report they are relying on to back up their claim, according to AHDB.
The group hit the tabloid headlines calling for hospitals to drop sausages and bacon, quoting a 2015 IARC report and suggesting it showed a person had as much chance of developing cancer from eating processed meat as from smoking or handling asbestos.
Maureen Strong, nutritionist with AHDB, said the report looked only at hazards and to suggest otherwise was misleading.
“It is a worrying that this small group of medical professionals, who people may look to for advice, are suggesting something that it is completely not true,” she said.
“At best, they have misunderstood the report. At worst, it seems that they are pushing a lifestyle change which could have a negative effect on the health of some people.”
She said the public should be able to expect hospitals to respect the importance of scientific evidence to inform policy decisions.
Ms Strong said to suggest the report implies it causes cancer was wrong.
“A banana skin on the ground is a hazard but it does not mean that all banana skins can cause accidents and are, therefore, potentially harmful to health,” he said.
“Whilst IARC has placed processed meat in the same hazard analysis category as tobacco smoking and asbestos, WHO does point out that this does not mean they are all equally dangerous.
“It is worth noting that processed meat is in the same hazard analysis category as HRT and contraception pills, both of which are prescribed by doctors and for which there is no suggestion of any change in behaviour.”
She said the NHS administration should take note of this to avoid making ill-informed policy decisions which could mislead the general public.
And under the IARC definitions most fresh sausages in the UK would not fall into the category of processed meat.