The Clear Food study was done from 345 collected samples of hot dogs and sausages, encompassing veggie dogs, sausages and old-fashioned all beef hot dogs. Their findings concluded that 14.4 percent of samples were “problematic” due to ingredient substitution.
Pork was found in 3 percent of samples, the majority of which were in products advertised as chicken- or turkey-only, especially problematic for people who avoid pork for religious reasons. In products not supposed to contain them, 10 contained traces of chicken meat, 9 pork, 4 beef, 3 turkey, and 2 lamb.
Vegetarian products were another source of issue in the study. Besides frequently containing human DNA, 67 percent of the hygienic issues within the samples were caused by vegetarian products. Ten percent of all vegetarian samples contained meat; Clear Food found chicken in a ‘vegetarian’ breakfast sausage and pork in a ‘vegetarian’ hot dog. Based on their study of retailers, they advise that vegetarians buy their products from Trader Joe’s.
“While some of these substitutions, hygienic issues, other variances, or off-label ingredients may be permitted by the FDA, our scientific disclosure allows you, as the consumer, to decide whether the variance or problems meet your personal standard in your buying decision,” Clear Food says in their study.
The overall best retailers for hot dog and sausage products are Target, Walmart, and Safeway, and the top brands are, in order, Butterball, McCormick, Ekrich, and Hebrew National, who all received a ‘Clear Score’ of 96, meaning ‘highest quality, great value, and safe.’
On the bright side, the mystery of what hot dogs are made out of has been solved. Clear Foods found that the best retailers for hot dog and sausage products are Target, Walmart and Safeway. And the top brands are Butterball, McCormick, Ekrich and Hebrew National. While these findings are somewhat disturbing, it begs the question of whether or not people will stop eating them. After all, a trip to a baseball game wouldn’t be the same without a hot dog.