The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that the hot dog be redesigned in order to prevent chocking among children. As you might guess, the American Meat Institute replied that it has no plans to redesign the "iconic food" known for its "distinctive shape."
In its report Prevention of Choking Among Children, The American Academy of Pediatrics identified hot dogs as "the food most commonly associated with fatal choking among children." Other common foods identified as posing a high choking risk included hard candy, peanuts/nuts, seeds, whole grapes, raw carrots, apples, popcorn, chunks of peanut butter, marshmallows, chewing gum, and sausages.
According to the report, the hot dog shares the same choking characteristics as high-risk toys. "It is cylindrical, airway sized, and compressible, which allows it to wedge tightly into a child's hypopharynx and completely occlude the airway."
Along with "redesigning" these foods to prevent choking, the Academy recommended the addition of warning labels and recalls of food products that pose a significant choking risk.
In a response from the American Meat Institute (AMI), Janet M. Riley, president of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council supported the Academies findings, but noted 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 pieces."
Riley also pointed out that nearly half of all hot dog manufactures already include choking prevention advice on their 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," she said.