03 July 2011

Hot Dogs: How They Are Made and Its Effect To Our Health

Hot dogs bun

Hot dog is best eaten with bun. It is also delicious to eat plain hot dog with sauce. Some people prefer it boiled, while others like it deep fried. But do you know how hot dog is made?

What are hot dogs made of?
Hot dogs are a processed meat product. Pork is most often used but other types of meat such as beef, chicken, turkey or a combination of meat and poultry may be used. Meats used in hot dogs come from the muscle of the animal. Sometimes "variety meats" which include livers, kidneys and hearts maybe use in hot dogs. However, the hot dog producers must clearly label the product with the statement "with variety meats" or "with meat by-products."

raw hot dogs
Raw hot dogs

How hot dogs are made?
The typical raw hot dog is a pink, cylindrical-shaped piece of meat. During processing, the meat is mixed with a curing solution to improve the taste and increase the shelf life. Other ingredients include water, spices, such as garlic, salt, sugar, ground mustard, nutmeg, coriander and white pepper.

A major ingredient in this curing solution is salt. It is used to make the meat easier to work with, improve flavor, and inhibit bacterial growth. Water is another component of the curing solution. It has a variety of functions including helping create the necessary meat emulsion and adding to the meat's juiciness. Sodium nitrite is included in the curing solution to retard the development of rancidity and stabilize the meat color. Curing accelerators such as sodium ascorbate or sodium erythorbate may also be added to preserve the color of the meat during storage.

The meat is then stuffed in casings, cooked, removed from the casing, and put in the final package.

How healthy or unhealthy are hot dogs?
Hot dogs are processed meats. Eating lots of processed meats has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. The risk of cancer probably cause by the additives used in the meats.

Sodium nitrite (or sodium nitrate) is used as a preservative, coloring and flavoring in hot dogs (and other processed meats), and studies have found it can lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines.

MSG, a flavor enhancer used in hot dogs and many other processed foods, has been labeled as an "excitotoxin," which, according to Dr. Russell Blaylock, an author and neurosurgeon, are "a group of excitatory amino acids that can cause sensitive neurons to die."

Producing Hot Dogs in a Factory

Read more: How hot dog is made - History, Raw Materials, The Manufacturing Process and Quality Control and How Unhealthy Hot Dogs Are? by sixwise.com

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