Americans love hamburgers. Although these sandwiches aren’t exactly prized for being healthy, a recent study unearthed ingredients lurking inside our patties that are as foreign to hamburgers as actual ham.
The report comes from the California-based food analytics company Clear Labs, which sampled 258 hamburger products including ground beef, frozen patties, fast food and veggie burgers. The results showed that 3 of the samples had traces of rat DNA, and 1 tested positive for traces of human DNA.
While the results of the study are enough to make even the most die-hard hamburger lover’s stomach turn, it should be noted only a small fraction of the samples tested were contaminated by human or rat hair during production.
“The most likely cause is hair, skin, or fingernail that was accidentally mixed in during the manufacturing process,” the report reads. “What many consumers don’t know is that some amounts of human and rat DNA may fall within an acceptable regulatory range,” it added.
One of the most significant findings of the study is some food items contained unlisted ingredients. Nearly 7 percent of the burgers sampled had ingredients that weren’t supposed to be in the food, including unlisted beef, pork, turkey, pork rye and artichoke. The researchers even found two instances of meat in vegetarian products.
The report noted that substituted ingredients can be an issue for people with allergies, as well as people trying to refrain from those foods for cultural reasons. For example, approximately 15.7 percent of vegetarian products were missing ingredients that were listed on the label. The team found that one black bean vegetarian burger didn’t even contain black beans.
Clear Labs also found pork DNA in one sample of beef patties too. As a result, people who refrain from eating pork for religious or health reasons may still be indirectly consuming it.
According to the report, “while this may not have been an intentional omission, it uncovers a surprising and potentially serious problem with quality control in the manufacturing of vegetarian burger products.”
More calories in fast food burgers than listed
Gaps were found between the reported nutritional content and the real values tested in some of the products. Almost half of the items tested had more calories than listed on the label, containing on average 40 extra calories per serving.
The report said fast food burgers were “especially egregious ” with respect to extra calories. Approximately 80 percent of the samples tested had more calories than listed. Nearly one-third of the fast food burger samples exceeded the listed value by more than 100 calories per serving, according to RT.
The most dangerous contaminant would be pathogens, which the researchers found were in approximately 4.3 percent of burgers. The DNA of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis was found in 4 samples, which can stir tuberculosis-like symptoms. Other pathogens found lurking in the patties included Yersinia enterocolitica, Aeromonas hydrophila, Clostridium perfringens, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli, reported Clear Labs.
“Considering that FDA labeling requirements make it mandatory for most fast food restaurants to publish nutritional information on fast food menus, these discrepancies are potentially worrisome for customers who make decisions about what to order based on calorie counts and other available nutritional information,” Clear Labs stated.
Make sure that the food going into your body is free from rat DNA and pathogens. Know which foods are clean and which are not, because knowledge is power.