Planning on tossing some hot dogs on the grill for the holiday weekend cookout? Are you wondering whats in that frankfurter you're going to feed to the kids? Curious about how sausages are made? Take a look inside a wiener manufacturing plant and the slaughterhouses those 'meat trimmings'
arrive from that are used to make those delicious grilled favorites you've been eating since you were a child. So what is this all-American fare made from?
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council
"All hot dogs are cured and cooked sausages that consist of mainly pork, beef, chicken and turkey or a combination of meat and poultry. Meats used in hot dogs come from the muscle of the animal and looks much like what you buy in the grocer's case. Other ingredients include water, curing agents and spices, such as garlic, salt, sugar, ground mustard, nutmeg, coriander and white pepper."
However, there are a couple of things they don't talk much about- Like "Variety meats," which include things like liver, kidneys and hearts, may be used in processed meats like hot dogs, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture
requires that they be disclosed on the ingredient label as "with variety meats" or "with meat by-products."
Further more, watch out for statements like "made with mechanically separated meats
(MSM)." Mechanically separated meat is "a paste-like and batter-like meat product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible meat, under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue," according to the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service
Although the FSIS
maintains that MSM
are safe to eat, mechanically separated beef is no longer allowed in hot dogs or other processed meats (as of 2004) because of fears of mad cow disease. Hot dogs can contain no more than 20 percent mechanically separated pork, and any amount of mechanically separated chicken
Federal standards of identity describe the requirements for processors to follow in formulating and marketing meat, poultry, and egg products produced in the United States for sale in this country and in foreign commerce.
The standard also requires that they be comminuted (reduced to minute particles), semisolid products made from one or more kinds of raw skeletal muscle from livestock (like beef or pork), and may contain poultry meat. Smoking and curing ingredients contribute to flavor, color, and preservation of the product. They are link-shaped and come in all sizes — short, long, thin, and chubby.
Sounds delicious huh? Ready to fire up the grill? Got buns?
If you're thinking of passing on the hot dogs and reaching for a hamburger instead - take a moment to Meet Your Meat
before you pick up a package of :::coughcough::: ground beef.
If you're in another country you may want to just say no to ground meat or any meat in general. Investigation's have shown that even horses are slaughtered
and added to that ground beef mixture that is going to end up being served to you.
Ground beef is usually not simply a chunk of meat run through a grinder. Instead, records and interviews show, a single portion of hamburger meat is often an amalgam of various grades of meat from different parts of cows and even from different slaughterhouses. These cuts of meat are particularly vulnerable to E. coli contamination, food experts and officials say.
Despite this, there is no federal requirement for grinders to test their ingredients for the pathogen says the New York Times in a tragic story
of E. Coli and a life shattered by food poisoning from burgers.
If you love hot dogs and hamburgers and are looking for a healthier alternative for this year's cookouts, opt for nitrate-free, organic varieties (available in health food stores and increasingly in regular supermarkets) that contain all meat, no byproducts and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
The choices offered at most every market for vegetarian hot dogs and burgers provide even more alternatives to mechanically separated meat products.
Enjoy your holiday cookout from my grill to yours.
Hear what Paul McCartney has to say about eating meat
all the images on these videos are extremely graphic. See what the meat industry doesn't want you to know, but only if you can stomach it. Food labels don't provide this information. Be an informed consumer when making food choices and share this story with friends and family. Eat healthy in 2010.
If Slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be Vegetarian
Behind the walls of the Slaughterhouse
Slaughterhouse Investigation: Cruel and Unhealthy Practices
by The Humane Society of the United States
Horses Slaughtered to be mixed with ground beef
by The Humane Society of the United States