Whether you call it a frankfurter, hot dog or wiener it's a cooked sausage and a year-round favorite. They can be made from beef, pork, turkey, chicken, or a combination- the label must state which. But does it always? What exactly is the ingredient MSM?
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 (FSIS).
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 or turkey.
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.
Fun facts from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
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 meatWarning 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.
Animal Activist Paul McCartney says "If Slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be Vegetarian". See the video documentary narrated by Sir Paul.