Hot Dogs have long been considered unhealthy and disgusting because of the "mystery meat" they contain. Though most hot dogs are merely a combination of chicken, pork, and beef; sometimes people we have to be sure. One analytics company set out to solve the mystery of hot dogs once an for all. What the found may make you vomit.
In efforts to prevent outbreaks caused by food contamination, Clear Labs performed genetic testing of one of America's favorites in order to "guide consumers towards more informed grocery shopping decisions." The company found that chicken, pork, and beef are only the beginning of the hot dog ingredient list. In meat hot dogs, DNA test proved the existence of meats like pork, but also found human DNA. Specifically, 2 percent of the hot dogs contained human DNA. In fact, based on their data, hot dogs are usually never what they seem, and this is all due to companies not disclosing the correct ingredients to the public.
Clear Labs found that 3 percent of the hot dogs they tested had undisclosed pork, a clear issue for people with strict religious diets. Another contamination that the lab noticed was in vegetarian hot dogs. In case you haven't already guessed, the lab discovered that many vegetarian hot dogs contain meat. Showing 10 percent presence in all vegetarian hot dogs, meat is still a mystery in hot dogs. To continue to uncover hot dogs' secrets, Clear Labs analyzed 345 samples from 75 different brands, according to an Eater report. After extensive tests, the company revealed that 14.4 percent of hot dogs "were problematic in some way." Just how much of an issue is this for Americans? It's huge, here's why.
American's love hot dogs, and a direct report by Clear Food showed just how much. According to their statistics, Americans spent $2.5 billion hot dogs in 2014. Additionally, the data showed that another $2.74 billion was spent in dinner sausages, and a whooping half a billion was spent on breakfast sausages, which are generally made the same way hot dogs are. This is how they are made.
Factories have massive belts and mixing bowls which are designed to create the famous hot dog. With meat trimmings, seasoning and casings, the hot dogs are mixed then transported to a smokehouse by the a conveyor belt.
After cooking, the hot dogs are cooled by a sprinkler of cold salt water. Most factories are designed in such away that food is to have very little contact with humans; however, some steps do required human hands. As human DNA is in everything, including skin cells. The 2% found in the hot dogs by Clear Labs may not be cause for concern. However, they noticed a large rate of mislabeled hot dog packages that is highly concerning.
Sometimes livers, kidneys and hearts are apart of the meat mixture in hot dog factories. If this is the case, the packaging for those hot dogs should read "variety meats." However, many of the packaged hot dogs do not. Labeling issues appear minor when the hygienic issues are come into the picture.
The first hygienic issues was the human DNA as previously mentioned. The second was the contaminants found in vegetarian hot dogs. The lab found that 4 out of the 21 vegetarian hot dogs that were tested were contaminated. Though that may seem like a small number, when compared to meat hot dogs, vegetarian franks were much nastier. In fact, "vegetarian items accounted for 67 percent of the hygienic issues found in the report." Then to make it very clear to consumers about which hot dogs are safest to eat, Clear Food gave a list of brands that did well in the test.
The most popular hot dog brands in the America happen to be the brands that Clear Food chose as the safest brands to eat. Among them are favorites like Butterball, National Hebrew, and Oscar Meyer. Sticking to these top brands may be essential for hot dog eaters as it's now be revealed that eating an off-brand could lead anyone to cannibalism.
[Image via Bloomberg/Getty Images]