Ad claims hot dogs are risky
The Cancer Project spot may overstate the possible harm

By Lindsey Tanner Published: August 27, 2008
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/> Hot dogs typically contain muscle meat trimmings from pork or beef. Contrary to legend, they do not contain animal eyeballs, hooves or genitals, according to the Hot Dog Council's Janet Riley. But the government does allow them to contain pig snouts and stomachs, cow lips and livers, goat gullets and lamb spleens. If they have these byproducts, the label should spell out which ones, a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said.

Alternatives available
Some also are made with leaner meats, including turkey, as well as tofu or soy protein.

Check the label of a name-brand hot dog, and chances are fat provides around 80 percent of total calories, more than double what's often advised. What's more, saturated fat and trans fat — the fats most strongly linked with artery-clogging — are common ingredients, in some cases providing at least half the fat content.

The hot dog council called the new ad an alarmist scare tactic, but the promoters, a group called The Cancer Project, defend their campaign.

Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, called the ad "a way to raise appropriate concern about a deadly concern.” Barnard also heads The Cancer Project, an offshoot of his anti-meat advocacy group.

Hot dogs may be considered as American as apple pie, but Barnard said it's time to change that tradition.

"Children are born with no traditions whatsoever,” he said. "You or I might think a hot dog, that just goes with baseball … We can always change our traditions to be healthful.”

The new ad is based on an analysis of five studies in adults by scientists working with cancer research groups not affiliated with Barnard's.

Their report last November said eating 50 grams a day of processed meats for several years increases colorectal cancer risk by 21 percent. That equals about one hot dog a day or two deli slices of bologna or five slices of bacon.




In this still image from video provided by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a scene from a TV commercial created by the Cancer Project called "Protect Our Kids” is seen. Associated Press

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