MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s as American as apple pie. A beer, a dog, and a baseball game. But at the new Marlins Park, the food police are trying to kill that image, posting a huge billboard aimed at baseball fans linking that all-American hot dog to, no kidding, butt cancer.
Piggybacking on the attention the Miami Marlins are getting for their new ballpark, the billboard near the park was paid for by the Physicians Committee or Responsible Medicine (PCRM) which timed the launch of the billboard for Wednesday’s Marlins home opener.
The billboard shows a cartoon of a man in a hospital gown, butt hanging out the back, holding a hot dog, with the blunt message “Hot Dogs Cause Butt Cancer.”
In more precise terms, the PCRM is referring to colon cancer, not something most baseball fans want to think about as they head to the ballpark to catch a game.
But the PCRM said the message is serious, and that processed meats like hot dogs have been linked to colon cancer.
“A person who averages a hot dog each day increases his risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent,” said Susan Levin of the PCRM in a statement. “And many people feed their children bacon for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch, and pepperoni pizza for dinner. The cumulative risk of all that processed meat can be enormous.”
In fact, the PCRM said during baseball season alone, Americans will chow down 7 billion hot dogs. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, last year 22 million of those were eaten as people watched a ballgame.
So why target the Marlins and their fans? According to the PCRM, Miami-Dade has one of the highest “butt cancer” rates in the nation, with about 13 hundred people a year diagnosed with the cancer.
The group also objects to the Marlins’ “all you can eat” buffet offered at the ballpark, which apparently lets you eat all the hot dogs you want.
While the organization wants to get fans thinking, they also want the Marlins to get into the act, by posting warning messages with their cancer alert anywhere in the stadium hot dogs are sold. They sent their request to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, but as of opening night, there was no sign of the hot dog health alerts at concession stands.
And why the term “Butt Cancer” on the billboards? Chalk it up to medical misunderstanding; the organization said it’s research shows more than a third of Americans have no idea where their colon is, lending new meaning to the phrase “can’t find you butt with both hands.”