Feb 25, 2010

Hot Dog Nonsense

Here is another way, to scare the public. The American Academy of Pediatrics wants foods like hot dogs to come with a warning label, not because of their nutritional risks, but because they pose a choking hazard to babies and children.

More than half of hot dogs sold in stores already have choking-prevention tips on their packages, advising parents to cut them into small pieces. The Food and Drug Administration, which has authority to recall products it considers "unfit for food," plans to review the new statement, spokeswoman Rita Chappelle says.

Here are the facts, stripped from the other numbers they use to scare us. 'Annually, up to 77 children under the age of 14 who go to the Emergency Room for choking on food, die', says the new policy statement, published online in Pediatrics (Feb 2010). It continues, 'about 17% of food-related asphyxiations are caused by hot dogs'. So 17% of 77 equals 13.09 children die each year from choking on hot dogs.

The academy would like to see foods such as hot dogs "redesigned" so their size, shape and texture make them less likely to lodge in a youngster's throat. I feel bad about 13 children dying, but to change a whole industry for that number seems a bit ludicrous. Maybe the Academy might make better use of its time solving some real childhood diseases that affect more than 13 children each year. A big weenie to the Academy!