But the American Academy of Pediatricians isn't worried about nitrites. In fact, my pediatrician actually recommended that I feed my daughter hot dogs or those canned meat sticks (!) and Ritz crackers (full of hydrogenated oil) in order to get her to gain weight when she was about a year old. This in spite of the fact that she eats a lot, and a wide variety of foods, and is totally on track developmentally, and is genetically predisposed to have a high metabolism... but I digress.
What is the AAP concerned about? Choking. And this is a very serious concern. Hot dogs do pose a very big risk when it comes to choking. Back when I got my first babysitting gig I remember my mom telling me that hot dogs, grapes, carrots, and apples are the biggest choking hazards for kids. It's true that a lot of children die or sustain serious injuries each year from choking on hot dogs, and because of their texture a chunk of hot dog can be very hard to dislodge from a little throat. And I take that very seriously. But I wonder why on earth we're still feeding kids hot dogs to begin with. Asking the meat industry to label hot dogs as a choking hazard and/or redesign their shape is the best the American Academy of Pediatricians can do when it comes to hot dogs? Really? How about labeling them as containing toxic carcinogens? How about educating the public about the risks of eating meats processed with nitrites rather than allowing the meat industry to continue its 40 year campaign that has successfully kept the USDA from banning sodium nitrite as an acceptable food additive? I agree that we need to address immediate threats such as choking, but what about the long-term threats like cancer? Oh yeah, I forgot. We need cancer, to keep our pharmaceutical-industrial complex going. And guess which industry is a major sponsor of the American Academy of Pediatricians (second only to the baby formula industry, of course). Mm-hmm. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but if you follow the money it pans out every time. Every. Time.