Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I love a good hot dog! I quit buying them after hearing rumors that they cause cancer. It turns out that those rumors are true for a lot of hot dogs but there are some that are o.k.

Cancer is one of the scariest things in this world! I have grandparents,aunts,and friends who have had to live with this terror,and some who have died.

If there's something that I can do to reduce the risks for my family than I certainly will!

Here is the best article that I found on the subject.

Hot Dogs and Nitrites
Childhood Cancer Risk
Q. What's wrong with hot dogs?A. Nitrite additives in hot dogs form carcinogens.Petition to ban nitrites Three different studies have come out in the past year, finding that the consumption of hot dogs can be a risk factor for childhood cancer.
Peters et al. studied the relationship between the intake of certain foods and the risk of leukemia in children from birth to age 10 in Los Angeles County between 1980 and 1987. The study found that children eating more than 12 hot dogs per month have nine times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia. A strong risk for childhood leukemia also existed for those children whose fathers' intake of hot dogs was 12 or more per month.
Researchers Sarusua and Savitz studied childhood cancer cases in Denver and found that children born to mothers who consumed hot dogs one or more times per week during pregnancy has approximately double the risk of developing brain tumors. Children who ate hot dogs one or more times per week were also at higher risk of brain cancer.
Bunin et al, also found that maternal consumption of hot dogs during pregnancy was associated with an excess risk of childhood brain tumors.
Q. How could hot dogs cause cancer?A. Hot dogs contain nitrites which are used as preservatives, primarily to combat botulism. During the cooking process, nitrites combine with amines naturally present in meat to form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. It is also suspected that nitrites can combine with amines in the human stomach to form N-nitroso compounds. These compounds are known carcinogens and have been associated with cancer of the oral cavity, urinary bladder, esophagus, stomach and brain.
Q. Some vegetables contain nitrites, do they cause cancer too?A. It is true that nitrites are commonly found in many green vegetables, especially spinach, celery and green lettuce. However, the consumption of vegetables appears to be effective in reducing the risk of cancer. How is this possible? The explanation lies in the formation of N-nitroso compounds from nitrites and amines. Nitrite containing vegetables also have Vitamin C and D, which serve to inhibit the formation of N-nitroso compounds. Consequently, vegetables are quite safe and healthy, and serve to reduce your cancer risk.Q. Do other food products contain nitrites?A. Yes, all cured meats contain nitrites. These include bacon and fish.Q. Are all hot dogs a risk for childhood cancer?A. No. Not all hot dogs on the market contain nitrites. Because of modern refrigeration methods, nitrites are now used more for the red color they produce (which is associated with freshness) than for preservation. Nitrite-free hot dogs, while they taste the same as nitrite hot dogs, have a brownish color that has limited their popularity among consumers. When cooked, nitrite-free hot dogs are perfectly safe and healthy.HERE ARE FOUR THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO:
Do not buy hot dogs containing nitrite. It is especially important that children and potential parents do not consume 12 or more of these hot dogs per month.
Request that your supermarket have nitrite-free hot dogs available.
Contact your local school board and find out whether children are being served nitrite hot dogs in the cafeteria, Request that they use only nitrite-free hot dogs.
Write the FDA and express your concern that nitrite-hot dogs are not labeled for their cancer risk to children. You can mention CPC's petition on hot dogs, docket #: 95P 0112/CP1.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:Cancer Prevention Coalition
c/o School of Public Health, M/C 922University of Illinois at Chicago2121 West Taylor StreetChicago, IL 60612Tel: (312) 996-2297, Fax: (312) 413-9898Email:
References: 1, Peters J, et al " Processed meats and risk of childhood leukemia (California, USA)" Cancer Causes & Control 5: 195-202, 1994.2 Sarasua S, Savitz D. " Cured and broiled meat consumption in relation to childhood cancer: Denver, Colorado (United States)," Cancer Causes & Control 5:141-8, 1994.3 Bunin GR, et al. "Maternal diet and risk of astrocytic glioma in children: a report from the children's cancer group (United States and Canada)," Cancer Causes & Control 5:177-87, 1994.4. Lijinsky W, Epstein, S. "Nitrosamines as environmental carcinogens," Nature 225 (5227): 2112, 1970

Cooking with Kids: "Nitrate-Free" Hot Dogs, Now With More Nitrates
Posted by Matthew Amster-Burton, January 7, 2008 at 2:00 PM
At a recent playdate, the subject of hot dogs came up, and I heard one mom say that, okay, she does let her child eat hot dogs, but only the "nitrate-free" kind from Whole Foods. I didn't say anything, but the portion of my brain devoted to ruthless debunkings lit up.
Last year, you'll recall, Ed Levine took Consumer Reports to task for naming Hebrew National skinless franks the top dog. I'm with Ed: franks with natural casings are better. (You can read the CR report at Consumer Reports.)
But there was this tasty tidbit in the report:
While the three uncured franks might boast of "no added nitrates," our testing found that Applegate Farms, Coleman Natural, and Whole Ranch contained nitrates and nitrites at levels comparable to many of the cured models.
That's because "no added nitrates" is—how to put this gently?—a lie. The manufacturers add celery juice, which is naturally high in nitrites. In answer to your next question, yes, the nitrites naturally occurring in celery juice are exactly the same as the pure sodium nitrite added by sausage makers. (Note that I am fudging the difference between nitrates and nitrites, but as Consumer Reports said, they tested the levels of both compounds.)
In any case, here is my public service announcement to parents: "nitrate-free" hot dogs do contain nitrates and are not nutritionally superior to any other hot dogs. Some of them are tasty, but they are not generally available with natural casings, which are to my mind essential to a great hot dog.
Don't want to serve your kids hot dogs? Fine with me. But if you are serving franks, choose based on taste. We buy Boar's Head all-beef with natural casings, and my four-year-old loves them. Though it's not like she'd turn down any hot dog.
About the author: Matthew Amster-Burton lives in Seattle. His work appears frequently in the Seattle Times and Seattle magazine. He also maintains the blog


At April 23, 2008 at 11:38 AM , Blogger Roehrman said...

OK I am never coming back!! To much good food around here! I love hot dogs! We are picky about which ones we buy. Which makes them a UN cheap meal. Sad.
We buy all beef no nitrate hot dogs. Mmmmm so good! Only get them like 2 or 3 times a yr.

At April 26, 2008 at 3:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a good thread about this on WellTellMe. I found Coleman Natural (at Costco) to have "good" hot dogs and bacon that hopefully won't kill us to eat them :)


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