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Want to lose your appetite for hot dogs? Then visit a frankfurter factory. It’s an unpleasant business. In vast metal vats, tons of pork trimmings are mixed with the pink slurry formed when chicken carcasses are squeezed through metal grates and blasted with water.
The mush is mixed with powdered preservatives, flavourings, red colouring and drenched in water before being squeezed into plastic tubes to be cooked and packaged. It is a disgusting process, for the hot dog is arguably the ultimate in processed, industrial food.
In response to the pink, flabby tubes of paste we serve our children, foodies have launched a movement for real frankfurters — or ‘haute dogs’. Next month sees the opening of Bubbledogs, a London restaurant specialising in hot dogs and Champagne. The new generation of sausages are lovingly made from quality cuts, gently seasoned and smoked in the traditional German way, and smothered with gastro sauces and relishes.
Charlie Powell from the food lobby group Sustain, said: ‘Cheap frankfurters are highly processed and have little in them that will improve your health. 'If they are eaten on a regular basis, they cannot be good for you. They are one of the least natural foods I can think of.’
And finally... Even if you buy only the finest, most natural hot dogs, you’re not out of the woods. For hot dogs are one of the most dangerous foods you can give to young children. In America, they account for an extraordinary 17 per cent of all child choking cases and kill around 80 children a year. They are particularly risky for children under four because they easily get lodged in the airway and are difficult to shift.