Hot Dogs on the Line

Have you seen the latest news about the lawsuit on hot dogs?

The Washington, D.C.-based Cancer Project (a vegan advocacy group) decided to take their stand again nitrate laden hot dog brands: Oscar Mayer brand; Sara Lee Corp.; Nathan’s Famous; and the makers of the Hebrew National and Sabrett brands.

The lawsuit is based on a report by the American Institute for Cancer Research that states regular consumption of processed meat can increase the risk of colorectal and other forms of cancer.

What does the advocacy group want?  They want hot dogs to have a warning label on them.

What do you think of this?

Do you remember the lawsuits in the early 2000’s against McDonalds?  Consumers stated that the food made them obese?  And it was McDonalds responsibility?  Those lawsuits were dismissed.

As a dietitian I tell all my clients about the correlation between nitrates and cancer.   If someone is eating nitrate-filled meats on a daily basis I have them switch to Applegate farms or another brand that is nitrate-free.  These days there are a lot of great options.  However, many people do not know about the negatives of nitrates.  Where does the responsibility lie?  Is it the responsibility of consumers to learn about nitrates or the manufacturers to tell the consumers?  Are nitrates worse than saturated fat?  Should muffins have warning labels on them since they are full of butter?  There are so many things in our food supply that are questionably healthy: trans fat (still in foods – no warning labels), nitrates, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, and the list goes on.

Personally I think everything is ok in moderation.  If someone has a hot dog at a baseball game and maybe one or two others during the year is that a problem?  It probably depends on their overall diet.  The main driving force is that everyone should eat a “cleaner” diet free of added chemicals and preservatives.  If you eat well 80-90% of the time, then there is room for some treats in moderation.

Bottom Line:  I have a feeling this lawsuit will be dismissed rather quickly.

I have not spoken to anyone who thought a hot dog was “healthy.”  If you want a hot dog once in while then go for it.  If you love hot dogs or other nitrate-filled meats and have them on a more regular basis then choose ones that are labeled “nitrate-free.”


4 Responses

  1. I totally agree with you! It is silly to label hot dogs with a warning sign…most people already KNOW it ain’t healthy, but once in a while when I want to indulge, I don’t wanna have a death sign sticking up my face!

  2. I too feel that the lawsuit will be dismissed quickly – people need to just let people be and enjoy a hot dog if they want it.

  3. oh lawsuits….everyone loves their hot dogs!

  4. I don’t think there should be warning labels on hot dogs, because where do they draw the line? While I’m not a fan of hot dogs (they give me headaches!) and do tell people the precautions with them, I don’t think they need to be regulated like that. Everything is reasonable in moderation. If someone is eating them on a regular basis, then they should be informed or educated, not slapped with a warning label. This won’t change their behavior. I think we as a nation should be focused on education, empowerment and preventative measures to actually facilitate change with the health problems out there.

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