Found Objects

Americans Find Some Seriously Weird Stuff in Their Hot Dogs

What exciting things await inside!
What exciting things await inside! Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc

During the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans eat 7 billion hot dogs. All those franks got Time wondering what unwelcome things might turn up in everyone’s dogs, and today the magazine shares what it learned from a Freedom of Information Act request with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. They found just 38 official complaints, which is a surprisingly tiny number. And yet, the complaints themselves reveal that people do, from time to time, find some strange things in their sausages. Among them:

• “A large ant.”
• “A clump of hair (looks like eyelashes).”
• “A needle resembling an injection needle.”
• “A sheared off portion of a metal box cutter.”
• “A pill.”
• “A large silverfish.”
• “What looks like insect larva.”
• “A clump of hair or something ratlike.”
• “The tip of a razor blade.”
• “Glass and potential mercury.”
• “A crown.”
• “A dime.”
• “A metal object” that “seemed like it was sharpened.”
• “Piece of bone measuring 1 in. by 3/4 of an inch.”
• Two hairs — one that was “short, black, and could have been facial hair. The second hair was thinner and was actually sticking out of the hot dog.”
• “The hot dog appeared to be written on with a black magic marker with the letter ‘T.’”

These are not the things you want to find in, or on, your hot dogs! So, consumers, even though there is a very, very, very, very small chance that your next hot dog will be tainted, you will still want to remain even more vigilant than this parent, who registered the following complaint:

I put a hot dog in the microwave for my toddler and while warming it started sparking and smoking which I thought was weird … but took it out and looked at it and didn’t see anything wrong so went ahead and gave it to him. After eating it he kept picking at his teeth and when I looked he had a piece of metal stuck between his teeth

Remember, everyone, to please avoid food that starts “sparking and smoking” when you put it in the microwave, because that is almost always a bad sign.


Americans Find Some Seriously Weird Stuff in Their Hot Dogs