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WTF? Study finds human DNA in hot dogs, meat in veggie dogs

Posted by on Oct. 26, 2015 at 12:50 PM
  • 4 Replies

Hot dog

By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Talk about mystery meat: A new report claims your hot dog or veggie dog may have an unintended "special ingredient" – human DNA.

Clear Food, a food-analysis company, recently examined 345 hot dogs and sausages. According to the report, the company found human DNA in 2 percent of the products tested. "Two-thirds of the human DNA samples were vegetarian samples," the study adds.

The report also notes that more than 14 percent of the samples, which came from 75 brands and 10 different retailers, "were problematic in some way." 

That's not the only bad news. The report goes on to say that researchers found traces of meat in 10 percent of the "vegetarian" products.

But all is not lost for frank fanatics. Clear Food gave a shout-out to the brands that fared best in their test, including Butterball, McCormick, Eckrich, Hebrew National and Gardein. Meanwhile, Oscar Mayer's Premium Jumbo Beef Franks took the title of top dog, described as "high quality and good value in a high-visibility national brand."

Learn more here.

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by on Oct. 26, 2015 at 12:50 PM
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Replies (1-4):
by I'm listening. on Oct. 26, 2015 at 12:53 PM
Hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog!
by Betsy on Oct. 26, 2015 at 12:53 PM


Quoting Ted1242: Hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog!

by Silver Member on Oct. 26, 2015 at 12:55 PM
Yum, cannibal dogs!
by Anonymous 1 on Oct. 26, 2015 at 12:57 PM

Hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats cause cancer, World Health Organization declares

High-profile study says that processed meat causes cancer
Play Video0:52
A new World Health Organization study found that processed meat like bacon and hot dogs cause cancer. It is the most prominent group to declare it a cause of the disease, and the U.S. beef industry isn't happy about it. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

A research division of the World Health Organization announced Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer and that red meat probably does, too.

The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States.

The WHO findings were drafted by a panel of 22 international experts who reviewed decades of research on the link between red meat, processed meats and cancer. The panel reviewed animal experiments, studies of human diet and health, and cell mechanisms that could lead from red meat to cancer.

But the panel’s decision was not unanimous, and by raising lethal concerns about a food that anchors countless American meals, it will be controversial. The $95 billion U.S.  beef industry has been preparing for months to mount a response, and some scientists, including some unaffiliated with the meat industry, have questioned whether the evidence is substantial enough to draw the strong conclusions that the WHO panel did.

"We simply don’t think the evidence support any causal link between any red meat and any type of cancer," said Shalene McNeill, executive director of human nutrition at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

[Whole milk, butter and eggs are now okay to eat. What's next?]

In reaching its conclusion, the panel cited studies suggesting that eating an additional 100 grams of red meat per day raises the risk of colorectal cancer by 17 percent; eating an extra 50 grams of processed meat daily raises the risk by 18 percent, according to the research cited. It quoted figures suggesting that 34,000 cancer deaths a year worldwide were attributable to diets high in processed meats.

“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” says Kurt Straif, an official with the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, which produced the report. “In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.”

The research into a possible link between eating red meat and cancer has been the subject of scientific debate for decades, with colorectal cancer being a long-standing area of concern. But by concluding that processed meat causes cancer, and that red meat "probably" causes cancer, the WHO findings go well beyond the tentative associations that some other groups have reported.

The American Cancer Society, for example, notes that many studies have found “a link” between eating red meat and heightened risks of colorectal cancer. But it stops short of telling people that the meats cause cancer. Some diets that have lots of vegetables and fruits and lesser amounts of red and processed meats have been associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer,  the American Cancer Society says, but “it's not exactly clear”  which factors of that diet are important.

Likewise, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government’s advice compendium, encourage the consumption of protein-containing foods such as lean meats as part of a healthy diet. Regarding processed meats, though, the Dietary Guidelines offer a tentative warning: "Moderate evidence suggests an association between the increased intake of processed meats (e.g., franks, sausage, and bacon) and increased risk of colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease." The Dietary Guidelines stop well short of saying processed meats cause cancer.

[95 percent of the world's people may be wrong about salt]

In recent years, meat consumption has been the target of multi-faceted social criticism, with debates erupting not just over its role on human health, but the impact of feedlots on the environment and on animal welfare. The public debate over the WHO's findings will probably play out with political lobbying and in marketing messages for consumers.

An industry group, the North American Meat Institute, called the WHO report "dramatic and alarmist overreach," and it mocked the panel's previous work for approving a substance found in yoga pants and classifying coffee, sunlight and wine as potential cancer hazards.

The WHO panel "says you can enjoy your yoga class, but don’t breathe air (Class I carcinogen), sit near a sun-filled window (Class I), apply aloe vera (Class 2B) if you get a sunburn, drink wine or coffee (Class I and Class 2B), or eat grilled food (Class 2A)," said Betsy Booren, vice president of scientific affairs for the group.

But at its core, the dispute over meat and cancer revolves around science, and in particular the difficulty that arises whenever scientists try to link any food to a chronic disease.

[Another food to worry about? Honey not as healthy as we think.]

Experiments to test whether a food causes cancer pose a massive logistical challenge — they require controlling the diets of thousands of test subjects over a course of many  years. For example, one group would be assigned to eat lots of meat and another less, or none. But for a variety of reasons involving cost and finding test subjects, such experiments are rarely done, and scientists instead often use other less direct methods, known as epidemiological or observational studies, to draw their conclusions.

“I understand that people may be skeptical about this report on meat because the experimental data is not terribly strong,” said Paolo Boffetta, a professor of Tisch Cancer Institute at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine who has served on similar WHO panels. “But in this case the epidemiological  evidence is very strong.”

[Why the Bureau of Prisons stripped pork from the menu for federal inmates]

Other scientists have criticized the epidemiological studies for too often reaching “false positives,” that is, concluding that something causes cancer when it doesn’t.

“Is everything we eat associated with cancer?” asked a much noted 2012 paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

That paper reviewed the academic studies conducted on common cookbook ingredients. Of the 50 ingredients considered, 40 had been studied for their relation to cancer. Individually, most of those studies found that consumption of the food was  correlated with cancer. But when the research on any given ingredient was considered collectively, those effects typically shrank or disappeared.

"Many single studies highlight implausibly large effects, even though evidence is weak," the authors concluded.

Although epidemiological studies were critical in proving the dangers of cigarettes, the magnitude of the reported risks of meat is much smaller, and it is hard for scientists to rule out statistical confounding as the cause of the apparent danger.

“It might be a good idea not to be an excessive consumer of meat,” saidJonathan Schoenfeld, the co-author of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article and an assistant professor in radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School. “But the effects of eating meat may be minimal, if anything.”

Moreover, critics of the decision noted that two experiments that tested diets with reduced meat consumption, the Polyp Prevention Trial and the Women's Health Initiative, found that subjects who lessened their meat intake did not appear to have a lower cancer risk. It is possible, though, that the reductions in red meat were too small to have an effect.

Read more:

Was it wrong that the government steered people away from whole milk for decades?

How Coca-Cola has tricked everyone into drinking so much of it

What Americans do with fish is shocking

Why Americans are falling out of love with one of their favorite fruits

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