Hot dogs are a summer grilling staple, especially around the Fourth of July. But this American favorite can cause food poisoning and other dangers if cooks are not careful when buying and preparing hot dogs.
Listeriosis, a type of foodborne illness, is caused by eating food contaminated by bacteria and is especially dangerous for pregnant women, newborns, the elderly and adults with weak immune systems.
Don't assume that hot dogs are safe to eat just because they are pre-cooked. Ready-to-eat foods (including hot dogs) are in danger of becoming contaminated with bacteriaafter they are cooked. The bacteria that causes listeriosis can grow in the cold temperatures of your refrigerator.
Hot dogs are the first food named on the Center for Science in the Public Interests' list of foods that have caused listeriosis outbreaks. More than 2,500 Americans contract listeriosis each year, and one-fifth of those infected die.
Food poisoning isn't the only thing you need to watch out for when eating hot dogs. Hot dogs have also been linked to cancers, heart disease and diabetes. They can also cause choking.
Before you grab a bun and ketchup, review these rules to keep your family and friends safe this summer.
Check out the slideshow above to learn 10 things you need to know when buying and cooking hot dogs.