There have been numerous studies linking red meat to cancer, but one report by the World Health Organization may have persuaded California to change its mind about meat. California has been a leader in discussions about GMO food labeling and humane agricultural practices. One of California's most important consumer-based policies is Proposition 65. Signed into law in 1986, this measure requires California to retain a database of all substances that are known to be triggers for cancer. Companies that use these substances are then required to disclose that information to consumers on their product labels. Since the WHO report categorizes processed meat as a carcinogen, not unlike tobacco, it puts the meat industry in a very precarious position in the state. While some believe California may lead toward putting red meat, particularly processed meat, on the cancer risk alert list, the meat industry remains confident that they have enough leverage to not adhere to California's policy. In 2009, a California court reaffirmed that meat factories are not subject to state inspection if they're already inspected by the federal government. Thus, the meat industry may get to escape California's risk list after all. However, processed meats may still be in a position for cancer risk labeling since it's not a fresh meat.
Source: Reuters, online October 28, 2015.