The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Where's the Beef?

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Nov 22, 2006 5:26PM

Mmm ... hot dogs. We love 'em. Especially those delicious Vienna Beef all-beef hot dogs, which are chock full of beefy goodness.

2006_11_hotdog.jpgExcept for the all-beef part. Chicago-based Vienna Beef is being sued for misleading consumers. How were they mislead? The aforementioned all-beef hot dogs have an "all-natural" casing — "all-natural" being a euphemism for pig intestine. Vienna Beef says it followed all the required government regulations required in labeling the porky dogs, but that doesn't help out those who accidentally chowed down thinking they were eating only beef.

What beef do the plaintiffs have with Vienna Beef? All three of them are Jewish, and it is against the laws of Kashrut (kosher) to consume pork products. The laws of Halal also forbid consumption of pork. We always like is when Jews and Muslims can come together over something, but getting tricked into eating pork products wasn't really what we had in mind.

To be fair, Vienna Beef spokesperson Susan Stoga said that only 5% of the dogs have the pork casing — the rest are skinless or have some other type of casing. She also added that most of the franks sold in ballparks and out of carts are of the skinless variety. In the mean time, we recommend switching over to Hebrew National dogs. Since their motto is "We answer to a higher authority," we don't think they will mess around with "all natural" casings.