Part of the fun of hot dogs is that you have no idea what they hell they’re made out of. Alright, maybe “fun” isn’t the right word. Maybe “horror” is more accurate. Either way, the point is that alongside Spam, the hot dog constantly raises questions about its mysterious makeup.
However, though hot dogs are mystery meat for the people eating them, the people making them still need to be at least vaguely truthful about what is going into the casings. Sure, I don’t know what part of the pig went in there, but it should actually be some form of pig bits.
Thankfully, scientists are on top of making sure that our dogs are made from what the producers say they are made from. A team of Malaysian researchers recently published a paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry entitled “Double Gene Targeting Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction–Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Assay Discriminates Beef, Buffalo, and Pork Substitution in Frankfurter Products.” The title may seem as confusing as trying to find out how much pig snout goes into a hot dog, but the whole point of the paper is to explain the scientists’ new technique that makes fighting frankfurter fraud even simpler.
“Currently, testing the authenticity of a meat product involves sampling its DNA,” the American Chemical Society wrote in a press release. “But existing methods often only search for one, long DNA sequence, which could break down during food processing and lead to false results.” This new technique is able “to look for pairs of short DNA sequences from beef, buffalo and pork in hot dogs” that “were stable under food processing conditions,” making the process of testing hot dogs easier and more accurate.
Their research also reinforced the need for such testing. According to the study, “A survey of Malaysian frankfurter products revealed rampant substitution of beef with buffalo but purity in porcine materials.” Okay, well, buffalo instead of beef. I guess things could be worse. For now, just stick to the pure pig bits.