The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council responds to claims that “Hot Dogs Cause Butt Cancer.”

Mayor McCheese was a goofy, bumbling mayor with a head that was molded in the shape of enormous cheeseburger.  The good Mayor’s right-hand man was Officer Big Mac, and his head also consisted of a rather large cheeseburger.  Together they administered justice and order throughout all of McDonaldland, while introducing children to the wonderful world of processed meat, sugary sodas and greasy french fries.

The unfortunate reality is that Mayor McCheese and Officer Big Mac were fictional characters responsible for managing a world that didn’t exist.  For whatever reason, the mascots were quickly forgotten as the nation’s taste for fast food steadily increased.

Proving yet again that job security is a myth, Mayor McCheese and Officer Big Mac have been replaced by new governing body: the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council.  The council consists of real people – not cartoon characters, puppets or fictional creations – and it is lead by Janet Riley, its president and official “Queen of Wien.”

As a bit of an aside, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council is a “project of the American Meat Institute,” and  Queen Riley moonlights as the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs of the American Meat Institute.  They maintain a place of business in Washington, DC, where the council claims to conduct

scientific research to benefit hot dog and sausage manufacturers. The Council also serves as an information resource to consumers and media on questions related to quality, safety, nutrition and preparation of hot dogs and sausages.

Well, the council is steamin’ mad at a group of physicians and medical professionals.  The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group of more than 125,000 health care professionals and others, has launched a campaign to warn consumers about the risks associated with the consumption of processed meats, which have been associated with colon and other cancers.

The group placed roadside billboards that poignantly describe the dangers associated with the consumption of hot dogs and processed meats.  The most recognized billboard is located along the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago, Illinois, and it claims that “Hot Dogs Cause Butt Cancer.”  Similar billboards have also been placed in Miami, Florida and Indianapolis, Indiana.

Yep.  The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council is miffed.  Queen Riley described the sign as “misleading,” “outrageous” and “alarmist.”  J. Patrick Boyle, the President of the American Meat Institute, argued that

[h]ot dogs are part of a healthy, balanced diet.  They come in a variety of nutrition and taste formulas and they are an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. This group’s claims are on a collision course with the facts.

Of course, earlier this month, President Boyle also extolled the virtues of boneless lean beef trimmings, otherwise popularly known as  “pink slime.”

Anyways, frankly – no pun intended, I guess – I’m not necessarily sure that President Boyle should really try to promote the nutritional benefits of mechanically separated meat, beef trimmings, fat, salt and preservatives that include soduim erythobate and sodium nitrate.  Scientific research simply doesn’t support his claim.  For example, the Harvard School of Public Heath recently published the results of a study that indicated that a daily serving of hot dogs and other processed meats increased the risk of dying of heart disease by 21% and dying of cancer by 16%.  Other studies have found a correlation between processed meats and risks for bladder cancer and pancreatic cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research has also found that the consumption of one hot dog per day increases the risk of colon cancer.

Unfortunately, these cancers are becoming increasingly common and they often prove terminal.  According to a report from the American Cancer Society, in 2010, over 1.5 million people were diagnosed with some form of cancer, and around 550,000 died from the disease.  Slightly more than 102,000 patients were diagnosed with colon cancer and 51,370 patients died from colon cancer.  Other incidents were just as profound: in the same year, 43,140 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the disease caused 36,800 deaths, and around 131,260 people were diagnosed with cancers of the urinary system, including bladder cancer, and over 28,500 people died from the disease.  Pretty grim statistics, no?

Yeah.  The Queen of Wein and President Boyle are really making me long for the days of Mayor McCheese and Officer Big Mac.  I’ll chose goofy and bumbling over this junk any day of the week.

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