What’s in your veggie dog? Meat.
A new report by Clear Foods, a company that uses “genomic technology to analyze the world’s foods at a molecular level, ingredient by ingredient,’ aims to take the mystery out of mystery meats – a food category which apparently includes wieners made for vegetarians.
Clear Foods analyzed 345 hot dog and sausage products from 75 brands and discovered many problems including “hygienic issues,” and “unexpected ingredients” – including the presence of “human DNA in 2% of the samples, and in 2/3rds of the vegetarian samples.”
They also found chicken in 10 samples, beef in 4 samples, turkey in 3 samples, and lamb in 2 samples. These meats were found in products that were not supposed to contain these ingredients.
Overall, 14.4% of the tested samples had hygienic issues, with vegetarian products accounting for 67% of the hygienic issues found in the report.
“Maybe Americans obsess about what’s on their hot dogs because they’d prefer not to think about what’s in them,” said Clear Choice in the introduction to their report.
“Sausages are the world’s original ‘mystery meat,’ and hot dogs have always provoked ingredient anxiety. In mid-nineteenth-century America rumors circulated that some butchers made inexpensive, frankfurter-style sausages with ground dog meat. Though no one knows for sure, this might explain how the hot dog got its name. One thing’s certain: questions about the hot dog are as old as the hot dog itself. And they’re not wholly unwarranted.”
Other issues discovered during the analysis included false nutritional claims regarding hot dogs that were touted as having double the protein that they actually have.
In 2014, Americans spent $2.5 billion on hot dogs, another $2.74 billion on dinner sausages, and over half a billion on breakfast sausages. If you’d like to continue that trend, Clear Foods says that these hot dogs are trustworthy: Trader Joe’s, Butterball, McCormick, Eckrich and Hebrew National.
Vegetarians should probably skip the bogus meat products all together, if they want to be 100% certain that they aren’t consuming animal protein.
Don’t smirk at the vegetarians, carnivores. The World Health Organization (WHO) has just come out with their own report, which says that bacon, ham and sausages rank alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer. WHO now placed cured and processed meats in the same category as asbestos, alcohol, arsenic and tobacco.
The report, which was released by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), said there is enough evidence to rank processed meats as group 1 carcinogens due to its link to bowel cancer. IARC places red meat in group 2A, as “probably carcinogenic to humans” due to its link to pancreatic and prostate cancer.
The report outlines the findings of a year of research by international scientists, and comes as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to WHO’s health warnings over the past several years. The organization has consistently advised people to avoid eating processed meat and limit their consumption of red meat to about a pound a week.
The meat industry rejects the report, says that lifestyle and environmental issues were not factored into the study, and is especially upset by the comparison made between cigarettes and meat. Quit smoking, get regular exercise, stay trim and avoid high alcohol intake is their advice to anyone who wants to stay healthy.
The IARC cited statistics from the Global Burden of Disease Project – an international consortium of more than 1,000 researchers – that say 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat.
If the cancer link with red meat were confirmed, diets rich in red meat could be responsible for 50,000 deaths a year worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease Project.
Reuters reported that this compares with about 1 million cancer deaths per year globally due to tobacco smoking, 600,000 a year due to alcohol consumption, and more than 200,000 each year due to air pollution.