|NEWS RELEASE||July 22, 2009|
Cancer Risk Prompts Hot Dog Fraud Lawsuit Against Nathan’s Famous, Sara Lee, and Kraft/Oscar Mayer
Three New Jersey Residents Seek Warning Labels on Hot Dog Packages
WASHINGTON—Three New Jersey residents are suing Nathan’s Famous, Kraft Foods/Oscar Mayer, Sara Lee, Con Agra Foods, and Marathon Enterprises for failing to warn consumers that hot dogs increase the danger of colorectal cancer. The action comes in the wake of landmark scientific studies linking hot dogs and similar meats to colon cancer.
The class-action consumer fraud lawsuit, which is being filed July 22 in Superior Court in Essex County, seeks to compel all five companies to place cancer-risk warning labels on hot dog packages sold in New Jersey. The labels would read "Warning: Consuming hot dogs and other processed meats increases the risk of cancer."
The nonprofit Cancer Project is filing the suit on behalf of John O’Donnell, Ruthann Hilland, and Michele DeScisciolo, who purchased hot dogs made by the companies without being made aware that processed meat products are a cause of colorectal cancer.
"Just as tobacco causes lung cancer, processed meats are linked to colon cancer," says Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Cancer Project. "Companies that sell hot dogs are well aware of the danger, and their customers deserve the same information."
The lawsuit is based on the findings of a landmark report from the American Institute for Cancer Research, based on 58 separate scientific studies, showing that just one 50-gram serving of processed meat (about the amount in one hot dog) consumed daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21 percent. Every year, about 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer; approximately 50,000 die of it.
In March, the National Cancer Institute published a study of more than half a million people showing that red and processed meat intake is associated with a higher risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.