The press has been awash in stories covering the billboard placed outside the Brickyard in Indianapolis claiming that “Hot Dogs can Wreck Your Health.” It was covered by Medical News Today as well as a number of mainstream news organizations. None of them questioned its veracity.
We regularly buy hot dogs at Stop and Shop and Village Market, so we decided to look into this.
The billboard was placed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a PETA-affiliated organization with all the credibility of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Newsweek noted that “less than 5% of PCRM members are physicians,” summarized in this article from Activist Cash. Further, the responsible American Medical Association has called PCRM
a “fringe organization” that uses “unethical tactics” and is “interested in perverting medical science.”
In fact the PCRM discourages donations to the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, the American Red Cross, and even Boys Town, because they support research that requires the use of animals!
The billboard refers you to CancerProject.org, a site also run by the PCRM, which asks for donations, but which has not been rated by Charity Navigator. The PCRM press release also refers to the American Institute for Cancer Research, which is held in very low regard by Charity Navigator for their persistent phone fund raising and lack of any significant contributions to research.
More to the point, the American Cancer Society no longer believes that processed meats and their associated nitrites have been shown to be of any risk to humans. (See Hot Dogs: Headlines can be Deceiving.)
So why all the fuss? It’s a bogus story, as anyone should know who covers medical news. Just the thing for the Silly Season, but not to be taken seriously.
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