Drivers in the Boston area may have noticed new billboards on their commutes this week. The ads depict a young girl in a hospital hallway holding a hot dog, with the message: “Choking Risk Now, Cancer Risk Later? Ask your local hospital to protect patients from #HazardousHotDogs!”
The Gloucester Daily Times reports the billboards are the work of The Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, a non-profit activist group of about 12,000 physicians that advocates for plant-based diets and alternatives to the use of animals in medical research. The group’s campaign—Make Hospitals Healthy—demands that hospitals ditch hot dogs and other processed meats in favor of vegan options, because hot dogs pose a choking risk to children and have been labelled a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. It also calls on hospitals to lease food-court space to restaurants that serve “healthful, low-fat, cholesterol-free meals.”
The campaign’s website includes a list of 10 hospitals that serve hot dogs, urging people to sign an online letter addressed to the hospitals’ CEOs urging them to end the practice. In a separate list, the group cites dozens of American hospitals that host fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, and Wendy’s on their grounds. (It also applauds 11 hospitals in which McDonald’s no longer operates.)
Whether you view the call for hospitals to ban fast-food and #HazardousHotDogs as an overreach or a common-sense healthful step depends on your perspective—and how much you like hot dogs.