Study: Vegetarian hot dogs could contain meat

(AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hot dogs became an American classic in the late 1800s, and since then billions have been consumed in the U.S. every year. But the phrase “You don’t want to know what’s in a hot dog” recently gained new merit thanks to a report published by Clear Food.

Hot dogs are processed in factories where meat trimmings, spices and various other ingredients are chopped, blended together and pumped into casings.

Clear Food analyzed 345 hot dogs and sausages from 75 brands sold in ten retailers in its investigation, and found that 14.4 percent were problematic due to substitutions and hygienic issues

The report states, “Substitution occurs when ingredients are added that do not show up on the label. Hygienic issues occur when some sort of non-harmful contaminant is introduced to the hot dog, in most cases, human DNA.”

Clear Food found human DNA in two percent of hot dog samples, two-thirds of which were vegetarian-labeled.

The study showed evidence of substitution such as chicken in ten samples, beef in four samples, turkey in three samples and lamb in two samples of products that were not supposed to contain those ingredients.

Pork was found as a substitute in 3 percent of samples tested. Most of those cases involved products labeled as chicken or turkey sausages.

In total, 10 percent of hot dogs advertised as vegetarian or meat-free had some form of meat in them.

Despite some shocking findings, Clear Food found “a number of hot dog manufacturers, large and small, that are producing high-quality hot dogs with integrity.”

See a complete list of the hot dogs tested in the report here.

The following brands of hot dogs earned the highest scores:

1. Butterball
2. McCormick
3. Eckrich
4. Hebrew National
5. Simply Balanced
6. Aidells
7. Jennie-O
8. Boar’s Head
9. Oscar Mayer
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