A food additive used primarily in processed meat
s to help preserve their color
when exposed to air. It is a salt of erythorbic acid whose chemical structure closely resembles that of Vitamin C
. It is produced from sugar
There is a rampant misconception that sodium erythrobate, an ingredient in hot dogs, is made of earthworms. This is NOT TRUE. I work at a reference desk where this is a common question. I have answered it many times using a variety of food safety books. It is a very widespread rumor, and really seems to scare everyone.
Breathe a sigh of relief -- you may eat hot dogs without fear of ingesting a single worm.