Hot dogs come under fire for their lack of dietary goodness
20th July 2012
A Hot dog or ‘Frankfurter’ as they were originally commonly known, is a widely popular choice of food and some say they date back to the 13th century when they were distributed to the masses during the event of an imperial coronation. Fast-forward to the present day and they are constantly seen being offered to the crowds at sporting events such as football, baseball and basketball, or being sold to the public at movie cinemas for a usual extortionate sum. Their popularity is at a high risk of nose-diving this week however with news about the questionable methods of their creation and the dangers they could pose to one’s health. Charlie Powell, a member of food lobby group Sustain, has hit out at cheap factory-produced meat that comprises a typical sausage, and he says, “Cheap frankfurters are highly processed and have little in them that will improve your health. If they are eaten on a regular basis, they cannot be good for you. They are one of the least natural foods I can think of.” Indeed there are many people who blame their stomach and bowel issues with the consumption of hotdogs, and they like most processed meats, have been shown to be linked to bowel cancer. With the opening of a niche London restaurant named ‘Bubbledogs’ (serving hot dogs and champagne), this has kick-started campaigns for more genuine, better-made hotdogs. Originally purely made of pork and originating from the German city of Frankfurt, they are rumoured to have eventually made it to America in the 19th century courtesy of German immigrants. Nowadays, the main ingredients comprise of pork, beef, chicken, or a variety of combinations of these meats. However, Tesco’s ‘Red Dogs’ range consist of 64% mechanically reclaimed chicken meat and only 17% is actually pork. The phrase ‘mechanically reclaimed’ is used to describe the process of recovering meat from carcasses that have already initially had their meat taken off. The carcass is forced through a machine which acts like a sieve and provides a blast of liquid to remove the meat. This mushy substance then gets mixed with a variety of additives such as flavourings and colourings, before being put into plastic tubes to be cooked. If this suspect process of creation doesn’t put you off hot dogs, perhaps the health impacts might – many hotdogs are made up of 2% salt and are in the high-salt category of foods. An abundance of consumption can therefore raise your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Dr Rachel Thompson from The World Cancer Research, commented, “If everyone ate less than 70g a week – or two hot dogs – it would mean there would be fewer cases of bowel cancer in the UK each year.” Not only do hotdogs have potential effects for long-term health, they are also the cause for a surprisingly number of choking-related deaths. A past study in the US discovered 17% of food-related asphyxiations in children younger than 10 years of age happened because of a hot dog. Doctors claim it is incredibly difficult for them to attempt to remove a stuck sausage from a child’s windpipe and the risk may be reduced if parents cut the meat into smaller pieces.