According to one study, in 2014 Americans spent $2.5 billion on hot dogs, $2.74 billion on dinner sausages, and $.5 billion on breakfast sausage. However, they did not always get what they thought they were buying. An analysis of 345 hot dogs and sausages found over 14% of them were problematic in one or two ways. Substitution problems existed when ingredients advertised on labels were not found in the meat, when the meat contained substances not listed on labels, or when meat was found in vegetarian products. Hygienic issues existed when some non-harmful contaminant was found in the meat. In most cases of hot dogs, the contaminant was human DNA.
Clear Food is an organization that specializes in “genomic technology” to genetically test food products. Basically, they break down the molecular components of something and assess what each component is. Results of testing by Clear Food found human DNA in two percent of all hot dog samples; 66% of those cases were found in vegetarian-labeled products. Pork was found in three percent of the samples, mainly in chicken and turkey sausages. Chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb appeared where they were not supposed to be.
Despite finding human DNA in hot dogs, Clear Food said that most hot dog makers scored well on the tests. It named Oscar Mayer’s Premium Jumbo Franks as the best overall hot dog and Butterball as the best overall maker of all hot dog and sausage products.