Americans eat nearly 50 billion hamburgers a year, but a recent report by a food research company may have you thinking again about buying store brand, ready made burgers.
In both meat and vegetarian patties, third party researcher, Clear Labs, found some additional ingredients that may make you sick to your stomach.
The report found unexpected ingredients in some of the burgers it tested—including the DNA of rats and humans—and some missing ingredients in others, such as the mysterious absence of black beans in a black bean burger. Clear Labs tested 258 samples—ground beef, frozen patties, fast food burger products, and veggie burgers—from 79 brands and 22 retailers (they are keeping the sample info anonymous).
MUST READ: 7 Organic Foods That Are Worth The Money (Yes, They Are)
Of all the samples, 13.6% had discrepancies between the label and the product. For vegetarian products alone, however, that figure was 23.6%. The study authors found “surprising quality issues, signaling that there are gaps in food safety and quality protocols that should be addressed.”
Here are some highlights from the report:
- Some 6.6% of samples had some form of substitution, such as the inclusion of beef, chicken, turkey, pork, rye, or sunchoke in products that were not supposed to contain those ingredients.
- Some 1.6% of the products had hygienic issues, with rat DNA found in three and human DNA (likely hair, skin, or fingernail introduced during the manufacturing process) found in one. From the authors: “It’s important to note that it is unlikely that human DNA or rat DNA is harmful.”
- 4.3% of the tested products contained pathogenic DNA, with vegetarian products account for four out of 11 of those. And that, the authors say, is “troubling, especially so in vegetarian products, which is widely considered a lower-risk food category.”
- 46 percent of samples contained more calories than reported on labels or in menus
- 49 percent of samples contained more carbohydrates than reportedd
- 6 percent of vegetarian burgers were identified as problematic with substitution, hygienic issues and pathogenic contamination
- In one particular manufacturer of black bean burgers, there were no black beans in the actual burgers
- In 2 other vegetarian brands, meat was found in their vegetarian products
The lab results come from 258 samples of ground meat, frozen patties, fast-food burger products and veggie burger products from 79 brands and 22 retailers.
So with this new knowledge, what’s the solution? If you have a desire for a burger, check one of many new restaurants that are popping up with all-natural, grass-fed, make them right in front of you type of burger joints. Those are a little bit more safe as far as quality.
For the full report, click here.