Hot Dog Ingredients Described

longest hot dogWhat’s in Your Wiener? Hot Dog Ingredients Explained:

Mechanically separated turkey: …paste-like and batter-like poultry product [is] produced by forcing bones, with attached edible tissue, through a sive or similar device under high pressure

Sodium erythorbate: …has replaced the use of sulfites in many foods and serves as a preservative and to help keep meat-based products pink. Some people report side effects, including dizziness, gastrointestinal issues, headaches and, if consumed in large quantities, kidney stones.

They reference the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which identifies U.S. Federal standard for hot dog ingredients.

The Canadian equivalent of the USDA is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. I couldn’t easily find information specific to hot dogs but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency does have information about Meat and Poultry Products labeling

A better hot dog: Maple Leaf’s Natural Selection Hot Dogs (which I couldn’t find a direct link too – maybe it wasn’t selling well enough and was discontinued). All the Natural Selection products appear to contain ingredients one recognizes and can make sense of. They’re a lot more expensive though.

I found one common criticism about Maple Leaf Natural Selection labeling: they appear to be misleading their labeling on their ham:

This CBC article about ham ingredients says the same:

Some companies use ingredients like celery extract as an undeclared source of sodium nitrate. Maple Leaf’s Natural Selections ham, billed as containing “no preservatives” or “artificial ingredients,” does contain “cultured celery extract.”


(Maple Leaf’s Natural Selections ham also contains “smoke” and “smoke flavour,” also called liquid smoke. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency ruled in 1992 that food containing liquid smoke can still claim to have “no preservatives added.”)