What's In Your Hot Dog?

Categories: Food News
He has the meat sweats.
Stop for a second. It's the Fourth of July and like any good American you're about to shove a foot-long stick of meat into your face. But do you know what's actually in your hot dog?

According to hot-dog.org, Americans purchase 350 million pounds of hot dogs a year. And that's just in the supermarkets. Frankly, it's an easy dinner option for the over-worked parents to feed their overweight and nutritionally-deprived children. We get it.

But think twice before serving that meat stick again. Scientific American broke down the ingredients and you might be surprised to learn what's actually in it. Here are two examples: 

Sodium nitrate - "Animal studies have linked sodium nitrates to an increased risk of cancer. It's also frequently found in fertilizers and, yes, fireworks."

Sodium diacetate: "A combination of sodium acetate and acetic acid, it helps to fight fungus and bacterial growth and is often used as an artificial flavor for salt and vinegar chips--and in the sodium acetate form, it's found in instant hand warmers."

Yummy. Here's the full list of the ingredients in a hot dog.

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My Voice Nation Help

mmm...mechanically separated meats....

Don Lorenzo
Don Lorenzo

It's obvious you don't know anything about food. Sodium nitrate, the other ingredient in curing salt, is found in cured meats of even the very highest quality. You can buy it from artisan charcuterie supply stores and it is an essential ingredient of many sausages and bacon. (If you didn't use it you would get botulism). Either you didn't do your journalism homework or you're a closet vegetarian.


Because some high end shops use it, it is okay?  Kind of like how expensive vodka is good for you?

Like sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate forms nitrosamines, a human carcinogen, known to cause DNA damage and increased cellular degeneration. Studies have shown a link between increased levels of nitrates and increased deaths from certain diseases including Alzheimer's, diabetes mellitus and Parkinson's, possibly through the damaging effect of nitrosamines on DNA.[5] Nitrosamines, formed in cured meats containing sodium nitrate and nitrite, have been linked to gastric cancer and oesophageal cancer.[6] Sodium nitrate and nitrite are associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer.[7] World Cancer Research Fund UK,[8] states that one of the reasons that processed meat increases the risk of colon cancer is its content of nitrate.

Devin D.
Devin D.

Hi Don,

If you read the article you'd see that the explanation of sodium nitrate comes directly from Scientific American. I encourage you to take your arguments up with them.

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