Millions of pounds of hot dogs have been recalled across America.
The exact total weight of the hot dogs recalled by Marathon Enterprises, Inc. is 7,196,084 pounds, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
In a press release, the government agency said these "beef and pork hot dog and sausage items" were "produced on various dates between March 17, 2017 and July 4, 2017," and "shipped to retail and institutional locations nationwide."
The hot dogs in question "may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically bone fragments," the announcement added. It goes on to provide these further details:
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The problem was discovered through FSIS’ Consumer Compliant Monitoring System (CCMS) on July 10, 2017. Complaints stated that extraneous material, specifically pieces of bone, were found within the product. There has been one reported minor oral injury associated with consumption of this product. FSIS has received no additional reports of injury or illness from consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
Even when not contaminated with bone fragments, hot dogs have long gotten a bad rap from consumer advocates. Ralph Nader, for example, once famously characterized hot dogs as "America's deadliest missile," observes The Washington Post.
In a 2015 scientific test of hot dogs and sausages, the private laboratory Clear Food found human DNA in 2 percent of hot dogs examined.
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The results are summarized as follows:
Of the 345 hot dogs and sausages Clear Food analyzed for this report, 14.4% were problematic in some way. Problems included substitutions and hygienic issues. Substitution occurs when ingredients are added that do not show up on the label. Hygienic issues occur when some sort of non-harmful contaminant is introduced to the hot dog, in most cases, human DNA. Clear Food found human DNA in 2% of the samples.
In 1984, a study published by the Harvard School of Public Health gained widespread attention when it found a link between leukemia and children who regularly consume hot dogs.
"Regardless of what the study says, people should be eating fewer hot dogs," said Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest at the time. "They are too full of fat, salt and chemicals."
However, Americans eating less hot dogs seems to be an unlikely prospect.
"Sausages are among the world's oldest prepared foods," as Clear Food explains in a brief history of the subject. "The Greek bard Homer wrote about black pudding or blood sausage in The Odyssey nearly 3000 years ago."
The genealogy of the hot dog as we know it today goes back to the frankfurter, which originated in the thirteenth century as "a boiled sausage of smoked pork encased in mutton intestine," and later brought to America by German immigrants. "By the 1890s the 'hot dog' was part of the American experience, and by the turn of the twentieth century, Americans could order one at a baseball game."