Things You Didn’t Know About Hot Dogs

Each year, folks across the U.S.A. gobble down the equivalent of about 5 billion hot dogs!

Now your favorite might be a chili dog, a hot dog topped with sauerkraut, a pogo stick, or beans and wieners—but regardless, America’s mass munching of pig parts is so notorious that enjoying a hot dog has become, well, a national pastime.

I warn you, the hard, nasty truth about hot dogs can be hard to swallow, and when you consider the following five facts you probably didn’t know about hot dogs, you may reconsider your penchant for the hot dog…

What’s Really In That Hotdog You’re Eating?

My dad used to say, “you know what’s in a hot dog right, pigs lips, ears, and snouts!” The ridiculousness that a yummy hot dog could consist of such gross ingredients never fazed this hot dog lover as possible. However, it seems my old pop wasn’t far from the truth.

According to officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, hot dogs can contain skeletal muscles, pork stomach, snout, spleens, lips, and intestines. Still hungry?

Hot Dogs Have a High Incidence of Foreign Objects

And it would seem it’s not just pig’s spleens and lips that you need to watch out for. No, there have been many reports of hot dogs contaminated with foreign-objects—including rubber bands, pieces of glass, screws, and stray processing machine parts—making them one of the most high risk foods for foreign object contamination that we eat in North America!

Hot Dogs Are Prone to Food-Borne Contamination

And if a stray rubber band doesn’t put you off your favorite pork product on a bun, this might. Hot dogs are one of the most potentially Listeria-prone foods.

This potentially deadly food-borne poisoning causes symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, severe stomach cramping, diarrhea, blood infections, and even death, and is common to hot dogs and other processed meats.

Hot Dogs Are Linked to Animal Cruelty

There are the staunch animal lovers out there who would never dream of touching a hot dog; and then there are those who spend weekends barbecuing up some Franks with their best dog friend in the backyard. However, the shady truth behind wieners is that the pigs used to make them are often treated unjustly.

For instance, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) shares horror stories of the treatment of pigs on hog farms, many jammed into ill fitting stalls and barns, injured and beaten, and living in their own waste.

Hot Dogs Are Hazardous To Your Health

If the previous 4 slides haven’t frightened you away from Frankfurters for good, the shocking fat content of a standard hot dog just might! A regular store-bought wiener derives approximately 85-percent of its calories from fat, and most of that fat is saturated—or bad fats—loaded with sodium, chemicals, and cholesterol.

Even so-called light hot dogs and turkey wieners are still a dieter’s nightmare.

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.