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Relish That Hot Dog, You Might Not Recognize Your Next One

Yesterday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement on Prevention of Choking Among Children (PDF). A laudable goal, no doubt. One particular recommendation found in the report, though, has got the American public's hackles up. The kiddie docs identified the hot dog as the food on which little Billy is most likely to choke and die. This is because of their "cylindrical, airway sized, and compressible" nature. And you thought Dan Aykroyd made them sound unappealing.

Some manufacturers already include warnings about the choking risk on their packaging, urging parents to cut the hot dogs into kid-sized pieces, though it is not mandated by the FDA. Enforcing a labeling change, however, isn't the end of the pediatricians' suggestion as regards the nation's frankfurter supply. They have actually called for the hot dog, and other similarly shaped meat products, to be redesigned. Gentlemen, we can rebuild the wiener. We have the technology.

Overkill, say those New Yorkers who spoke with CNN's Jeannie Moos. Even the guy who claims to have once choked on a hot dog himself:

Imagine if she'd conducted her interviews in Hot Dog City.

If this redesign movement gains traction, we can only hope that whoever is selected to draft the new blueprints is a true visionary. Maybe start with the inventor on this patent since he apparently came up with the novel idea for the "hot dog bun" way back in 2008. I'm sure Oscar Mayer and Mr. Nathan's respective attorneys have advised not to let the threat of lawsuits deter them from the redesign process, since, of course, subsequent remedial measures are not generally admissible. Now if the redesign can also eliminate the risk of cancer, plaintiffs lawyers may need to start looking for other appetizing defendants.

Posted by Eric Lipman on February 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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