July is National Hot Dog Month and National Hot Dog Day is Wednesday, July 19! This summer, people in the United States will consume millions of hot dogs at family BBQs, restaurants and amusement parks.
What better way to celebrate than by safely preparing and cooking delicious hot dogs!
Hot dogs carry the potential to be contaminated by the dangerous foodborne bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes. If they are not cooked and handled properly, hot dogs can cause Listeriosis, a serious bacterial infection.
The CDC estimates that Listeriosis causes about 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths in the U.S. annually. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women are especially at serious risk, since Listeriosis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.
Here’s how you can enjoy hot dogs and protect yourself from food poisoning this summer:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after handling raw hot dogs.
- Avoid cross-contamination of raw hot dog juices on cooking utensils, food prep surfaces, or other items in the fridge.
- Refrigerate hot dogs immediately after purchasing, for up to 2 weeks unopened, or no more than 1 week after opening.
- Use an appliance thermometer to make sure your refrigerator is cooled at 40°F or below.
- Cook hot dogs until the internal temperature reaches 165 °F on a digital food thermometer or until steaming hot just before serving.
To celebrate National Hot Dog Month, we’ve created three fun, safe recipes for you!
- Hot Dogs with Bacon, Mayonnaise & Peanut Butter
- Corn Puppy Dogs
- Grilled Plant-based Spicy Sausage Tacos with Avocado Pineapple Salsa
Follow these simple food safety steps and enjoy America’s favorite meal on a bun!
Melanie Safi earned a degree in Health & Nutrition Sciences with a concentration in Foods and Nutrition. She served as PFSE Communications and Marketing Intern in the spring and summer of 2022 as well as Marketing Consultant for the 2023 Consumer Food Safety Education Conference.