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October 17, 2013

What are Hot Dogs Made of? Pathological Analysis...

Ever since the publication of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair in 1906 about the US meat industry, there has been a negative connotation on what hot dogs are actually made of. Urban legend will report anything and everything can potentially be found in a hot dog including rats, human extremities, feces, etc.

So this begs the question of what really is found inside a hot dog when looked under the microscope to bring light of truth upon this murky question.

in 2008, Ohio pathologists took a look at 8 different brands of hot dogs and this is what they found:

• The average meat content in a hot dog was only 5.7% (range 2.9% - 21%). Water actually made up most of a hot dog content consisting of 57% (range 44% - 69%). What meat was seen was recognizable as muscle, but did show evidence of degenerative changes. Also, the higher the meat content, the more expensive the hot dog was.
• No brain tissue was seen in any samples (especially important when considering mad-cow disease is localized in brain tissue and can be transmitted to humans who eat contaminated tissue causing fatal Crutzfeldt-Jakob disease).
• Besides meat, other tissue types were seen including connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves, and fat (all expected in meat/muscle).
• However, cartilage and bone was also found in some samples, perhaps accrued during the butchering and processing of the meat.
• Unexpectedly, skin was found in one hot dog. Plant material was also unexpectedly found which may have been added as a way to add bulk to the meat.

There you have it!

What about hamburger meat? Click here for more info...


Reference:
Applying morphologic techniques to evaluate hotdogs: what is in the hotdogs we eat? Ann Diagn Pathol. 2008 Apr;12(2):98-102. doi: 10.1016/j.anndiagpath.2007.04.012. Epub 2007 Oct 24.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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