Schwab’s Finest Hot Links is an extra hot sausage produced in Oklahoma since 1912. If you take magnifying glass you can read on the package: Artificially colored, Hickory Smoked, Fully Cooked. It also said: US inspected and passed by Department of Agriculture. And, finally, on the back you see “Allergen free”. Wait a minute, what about FD&C Red #3, isn’t it an allergen? Let’s see what else is inside.
DyeDiet Doesn’t Buy It!
With every bit of the sausage you get not too bad foreign additives risk of DDFI = 18/23 ~ 0.8 and yet poor nutritional value of DDNF = 23/35 ~ 0.7 due to the high number of food additives relative to nutrients. These food additives are typical for the processed meat in the USA:
- Sodium nitrite to preserve color. Its lethal dose LD50 in rats is around 180 mg per Kg of body weight that is ~ 20 times the toxicity of table salt (sodium chloride). See section 11: Sodium nitrite MSDS. It is recognized very hazardous chemical;
- Sodium erythorbate is added in attempt to reduce carcinogenic effects of sodium nitrite. It may produce some minor side effects;
- Sodium diacetate, a non-toxic additive;
- Sodium lactate, an anti-microbal agent used to extend shelf life of processed meat products.
So, why they put Red #3 into the sausage? Perhaps, to make it look better. Do YOU like it? What about possible toxic effects of this food colorant? Erythrosine is a chemical with a whopping 58% content of iodine. To find out more read CSPI report, Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks, pages 25 – 28.
Let’s now take a look at Sara Lee’s Summer Sausage. I cannot say that it is DyeDiet Recommended (see recent report 5 Foods That Can Trigger a Stroke) but at least it doesn’t contain artificial colorants and has only two non-nutritional food additives: sodium nitrite and sodium chloride.
Accordingly, this sausage is generally safer to consume. Indeed, you will get even lower foreign food additive risk of DDFI = 8/21 ~ 0.4 and descent nutritional value of DDNF = 21/13 ~ 1.6. Note, that while sodium chloride is an essential electrolyte I consider it as non-nutrient because of its ubiquity in our food and high risk of over-consumption.
Finally, if you decide to eat these sausages here are two tips that may well help to minimize health damage:
- Peel off Schwab’s Hot Links and throw the peels away. All Red #3 is concentrated in the skin so this will dramatically reduce the food dye exposure;
- Despite both sausages are “fully cooked” treat them in boiling water for a few minutes. This will significantly reduce sodium nitrite ingested. Please dispose the water into a drain; do not use it.
Hope this quick report will help you to make your informed less risky food choices for your and your children’s better health!