Hot dogs are an extremely popular food item, and one that most people have at least had on several occasions. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council reports that the average person in the United States may eat up to 70 hot dogs per year. With these statistics, it is important to know what this mystery meat is actually made of.
Here is a list of the most common ingredients that are included in the most popular brands of these “tube steaks.”
1. Mechanically separated turkey and chicken
This refers to a “paste” that is created by using a mechanical device to force bones and edible tissue through a crushing machine with high pressure.
Not a bad ingredient. But, hot dogs must contain less than 10% water, according to regulations put forth by the USDA. As the second most popular ingredient, at only 10% or less of the content, you can be certain that you are getting more than your fair share of mechanically separated turkey and chicken.
Although pork cannot be mechanically separated in the same manner as turkey and chicken, it is processed through “advanced meat recovery machinery” and the edible portions of the animal are extracted without crushing the bones.
What better way to give your hotdog some staying power than add fillers? Cornstarch and corn syrup are perfect solutions. Just for the record, about 90% of corn and corn products are genetically modified in the United States.
One hot dog contains about 20% of the recommended amount of sodium you should have on a daily basis.
This is not specifically explained, and could mean many different things. All of which are unlikely to be from natural sources.
The preservatives found in hot dogs are especially unhealthy. Chemicals like sodium phosphates, sodium diacetate, sodium benzoate, sodium ascorbate, and sodium nitrite are all common. The purpose is to prevent the growth of bacteria and keep the colour stable. Some of these chemicals have been linked to cancer in animal studies, human studies are still inconclusive.
To make the hot dogs, all of these ingredients are added into a smashing machine, mixed together and crammed into cellulose casings that are removed once the hot dog shape is formed.
Sounds delicious, right? Fortunately, you can find hot dogs that are made from more “real” ingredients and are uncured, meaning they do not contain the same preservatives. If you really love your hot dogs, then this is the best option.