Category Archives: hot dogs

Attention vegetarians: there’s a 10 percent chance that the veggie hot dog you’re eating isn’t really a veggie hot dog

141110163713-hot-dog-file-story-topIf you’re a vegetarian, knows that you’ve got a tremendous variety of food choices available to you that “replace” a meat product. There’s vegetarian sausage, vegetarian bacon, veggie burgers, veggie pepperoni for pizza and, of course, vegetarian hot dogs. Most folks we know have a favorite brand for a variety of reasons that probably include ingredient lists. A new study is pointing to the idea that if you’re a fan of vegetarian hot dogs, you may have more to think about than what’s printed on the ingredient list of the brand to which you’re loyal.

A new study is indicating that there’s a possibility that the vegetarian hot dog you’re purchasing actually isn’t vegetarian at all.  In fact, there’s a 10 percent chance that the veggie hot dog you’re eating isn’t really a veggie hot dog – it contains meat.

Perhaps worse, the company found hygiene issues in four of its 21 vegetarian samples. It also found human DNA in 2% of its hot dog samples — and two-thirds of the vegetarian samples.

Overall, 14.4% of the hot dogs and sausages tested by Clear Foods “were problematic,” the company said.

Clear Foods is a company that “translates quantifiable molecular tests into actionable food data insights,” according to its website. In English, that means it uses genetic sequencing to figure out just what’s in your lunch.

Its results on hot dogs aren’t always comforting. Overall, the company found nutritional label inaccuracies, pork substitution and some unexpected ingredients, including chicken and lamb.

On the other hand, Clear gave high marks to a variety of manufacturers, both national and regional. Butterball, McCormick, Eckrich and Hebrew National led among national brands, each with a score of 96 out of 100, based on Clear’s formula.

This information is particularly disturbing. Vegetarians need to be able to trust the brands they rely on to keep meat out of their products. In addition, wants to note the hygiene issues suggested by the finding of human DNA in a variety of different hot dog brands, as well as the presence of pork where no pork was supposed to be used, as well as a few other unpleasant items of note, truly create an incredible violation of trust between hot dog consumers and food manufacturers.

14.4% of the hot dogs samples in Clear Food’s study had some sort of a problem: vegetarian hot dogs containing meat; nutritional label inaccuracies; hygienic issues; ingredient substitutions and more. Read the results of the study here at for the full details and the brands included in the analysis.

Reduced levels of nitrites in hot dogs had no significant affect on incidence of colon cancer

thought our community would find this story of particular interest. Back in 1978, the United States government mandated the addition of vitamin C to hot dogs. This would reduce the amount of nitrites and would, by the popular opinion of the time, reduce the rate of colon cancer in the country.

The FDA required hot dog manufacturers to include either ascorbate or erythorbate in their products. Both of these would offset the amount of nitrites present in the meat. Nitrites are what is added to processed meats like frankfurters. They enhance flavor and color in addition to extending shelf life. Unfortunately, as the meat is cooked the nitrites mix with amines in the meat to form cancer-causing nitrosamines. The presence of vitamin C would reduce the nitrites and prevent the cancer.

Great idea.

A new study, however, has revealed that although there has been a notable drop in the number of people who die from colon cancer, there really hasn’t been much of a change in the number of people who actually get colon cancer. These findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting just this week. While researchers agree that the amount of nitrites in hot dogs were definitely reduced by the changes made by the government, those reductions did not decrease the risk for colon cancer in the country. Researchers feel that the results would have been evident by now.

It was agreed that the decrease in the death rate from colon cancer is most likely attributable to earlier detection and better treatments.

While the researchers agreed that reducing the nitrites in hot dogs was a beneficial move, the hot dog issue is difficult to determine. Since not everyone is a hot dog fan, and even most of those who are aren’t eating them in excess, studying the issue is clouded.

Regardless of its effect on colon cancer, it’s better for everyone that today’s hot dogs carry reduced quantities of nitrites compared to their 1970’s counterparts.

Sodium Nitrate Warnings

Overview wants to make you more aware of what controversial ingredients are being put into our foods. Sodium nitrate is a food additive in processed meats used to prevent the deadly bacteria botulism from growing. It is found in processed meats such as hot dogs, bologna, bacon, deli meats, ham and salami. It is this preservative that gives pink color to these meats. There are some harmful effects of eating these meats and taking in high amounts of sodium nitrates that you should be aware of.

Sodium nitrate additives cause the formation of nitrosamines in the body, which are cancer-causing chemicals. Sodium nitrate is being linked to colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer, but research still is being done to determine the relationship between this additive and other cancers. According to, 90 percent of nitrites and nitrates have been determined as carcinogenic to the body and specific organs.

Increased Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes
Sodium nitrate might damage blood vessels, causing the narrowing and hardening of arteries, which can lead to heart disease, says A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating processed meats increases your risk of heart disease by 42 percent and diabetes by 19 percent compared with non-processed meats with the same saturated fat content. Further studies are being done on the possible link between insulin-dependent diabetes and sodium nitrates.

High Blood Pressure
High sodium foods are the leading cause of high blood pressure, and additives such as sodium nitrates add even more sodium than what is naturally found in the product. Read through the ingredients list on the food label to look for additives such as sodium nitrate, sodium alginate, monosodium glutamate, all of which add unnecessary sodium to your diet.

Increased Death Rates from Disease
According to, a study by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital found a substantial link between increased levels of nitrates in our environment and food with increased deaths from diseases, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes mellitus and Parkinson’s. These diseases are associated with increased insulin resistance and DNA damage, which has drastically increased and is thought to be related to nitrates.