AMI Statement On Hot Dogs And Choking

Janet M. Riley, president, National Hot Dog and Sausage Council,
senior vice president, public affairs, American Meat Institute:

The safety of the foods we serve to our customers, especially children, is of
paramount importance to the meat industry. That is why for more than a decade,
we have echoed the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations that hot
dogs should be cut into small pieces before serving to young children; that
casings, if present, should be removed; and that parents should carefully
supervise their young children’s eating at all times.

Several companies who manufacture hot dogs representing roughly half the
market share have chosen to include choking prevention advice on packages and
have done so for years. It is important to evaluate the impact the presence of
those warning labels has had on choking incidents associated with hot dogs and
whether or not those labels have been effective in preventing choking incidents.
Despite the fact that this has not yet been evaluated, our members are carefully
considering AAP’s new policy on this issue.

In terms of a call for a redesign of hot dogs, these are an iconic food known
for their distinctive shape. However, I can say that as a mother, I redesign
many foods from hot dogs to grapes to carrot sticks in my own kitchen when I
serve them to toddlers. I simply use a knife and cut them into small, bite-sized

We support the Academy’s efforts to advise patients on how to prepare food for
young children to prevent choking. In joining that effort, we are committed to
creating a Web video and companion brochure this year that will advise parents
of the importance of cutting hot dogs in very small pieces when serving to young

Photo Caption: This recipe for Hot Dog Spaghetti uses cut portions of hot dogs
suitable for children, fun too.

American Meat Institute