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What’s in a Hot Dog?

It’s summer and a popular picnic food is hot dogs! It is estimated Americans will eat 20 billion hot dogs this year.

Hot dogs are made of meat pieces that don’t make good steaks or roasts, or aren’t a certain tenderness, size, shape or weight. Salt, water and nitrites are also added. Nitrites give the cured meat flavor and pink color. Some companies are using a natural curing agent, celery powder or juice. Every company has their own unique recipe that is their signature. Pork, beef, chicken, and other meats are used, as well as vegetarian options are available.

Hot dogs are cooked when made. While they can be eaten as is, pregnant women should always reheat them to steaming hot for best safety.

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About Karen Blakeslee

The Rapid Response Center was formed in 1995 as a resource for Kansas State University Research & Extension Agents. Resource topics included Food Science, Human Nutrition, Food Service, Textiles, Home Care and other consumer topics. Since that time, the Center has grown to be of valuable assistance to Kansas State University Extension Specialists in those areas.

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