“Warning: Consuming hot dogs and other processed meats increases the risk of cancer.”
That’s the label that a vegan advocacy group wants a New Jersey court to order Oscar Mayer, Hebrew National and other food companies to slap on hot dog packages.
The nonprofit Cancer Project filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of three New Jersey plaintiffs asking Essex County superior court to compel the companies to place cancer-risk warning labels on hot dog packages sold in New Jersey.
“Just as tobacco causes lung cancer, processed meats are linked to colon cancer,” says Neal Barnard, president of the Cancer Project and an adjunct professor at the George Washington University medical school in Washington , D.C. “Companies that sell hot dogs are well aware of the danger, and their customers deserve the same information.”
The defendants in the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, include Nathan’s Famous Inc., Oscar Mayer owner Kraft Foods Inc., Sara Lee Corp., Marathon Enterprises Inc. and ConAgra Foods Inc., which owns Hebrew National.
In 2008, Americans spent $3.4 billion purchasing 730 million packages of hot dogs and sausages in U.S. supermarkets, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council.
The industry is against such warning labels.
“These proposals are unfounded. Hot dogs have been enjoyed by consumers for more than 100 years,” said Sydney Lindner, a Kraft spokeswoman.