The American Amademy of Pediatrics wants warning labels slapped on hot dogs. Not because they contain sodium, fat, preservatives, and a variety of substances that may not actually be meat. No, this is because they’re, you know, shaped like hot dogs. As such — like grapes, bananas, and carrots, those other agents of cylindrical evil — they may pose a choking hazard to young children.
So the AAP says that they need warning labels, or better yet, a redesign. Per the group’s statement, “too little attention is paid by government agencies and food manufacturers to minimizing choking risks. Although some food manufacturers voluntarily place warning labels on high risk products, more work needs to be done to implement safety standards for all high risk foods in regard to choking.” The AAP is seeking “commitment from food manufacturers to design new food and redesign existing food to minimize choking risk, to the extent possible.”
It’s hard to think of how one would redesign a hot dog to be choke-proof, aside from selling it pre-chewed, but here’s a novel idea: Perhaps parents could take it upon themselves to cut them up into small, bite-sized pieces before serving them to their kids. But why settle for common sense and personal responsibility when you can get a government agency or two to pick up the slack instead?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 22, 2010