"Warning: Consuming hot dogs and other processed meats increases the risk of cancer."
That's the label that the Cancer Project, a nonprofit vegan advocacy group, wants hot dog makers to add to their labels.
The group filed a lawsuit this week asking a New Jersey court to force hot dog companies—Nathan's famous, Oscar Meyer, Hebrew National, and others—to put cancer-risk warning labels on hot dog packages in New Jersey.
According to the Cancer Project, "Hot dogs and other processed meats increase the risk of colorectal cancer and should be avoided completely, according to a landmark report on diet and cancer risk by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund.
When it comes to colon cancer, there is absolutely no amount of processed meat that's safe to eat. In fact, according to researchers, just one 50-gram serving of bacon, sausage, deli meats or other processed meat (think one hot dog) daily increases our risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21 percent."
In the lawsuit, the Cancer Project alleges that nitrites (preservatives used in hot dogs) break down into cancer-causing agents during digestion.
But according to news reports, having a hot dog on occasion, say at a summer barbecue, shouldn't be cause for concern. While there is speculation that nitrosamines can increase cancer risk, the risk comes only when you eat a lot of hot dogs and other processed meats, and you eat them often.
Would you still eat hot dogs if the package contained a warning label?