Report: Burgers contain human and rat DNA

National and World

File photo of a burger

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Hamburgers are a classic American food, and on average, Americans eat nearly 50 billion hamburgers every year. But a recent report by Clear Labs has many people cringing.

Clear Labs is a food-analytics platform for retailers and manufacturers, and on Tuesday they released an extensive molecular analysis of burger products.

The company analyzed 258 samples of ground meat, frozen patties, fast-food burger products and veggie burger products from 79 brands and 22 retailers.

Clear Labs used next-generation genomic sequencing (NGS) and other third party tests to screen the samples for authenticity, major, medium, and minor substitution, contamination, gluten, toxigenic fungi and toxic plants, other allergens, and missing ingredients. They also examined the products for nutrition content accuracy, such as calories, carbs, fat, and protein.

The results of Clear Labs’ “Hamburger Report” are somewhat disturbing for both carnivores and vegetarians.

  • 6% of meat burgers were identified as problematic with substitution, hygienic issues, and pathogenic contamination
  • 1 sample tested positive for human DNA
  • 3 samples tested positive for rat DNA
  • 46% of samples contained more calories than reported on labels or in menus
  • 49% of samples contained more carbohydrates than reported
  • 6% of vegetarian burgers were identified as problematic with substitution, hygienic issues, and pathogenic contamination
  • In one black bean burger, there were no black beans
  • In 2 cases, meat was found in vegetarian products

Clear Labs says the purpose of the report is meant to “help the food industry future-proof their supply chains, reduce the risk of costly recalls, and generally improve qualities of safety and quality by calling out all observable trends and insights at the molecular level, regardless of whether or not they are acceptable according to FDA guidelines.”

You can read the full report from Clear Labs here.

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