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Molecular Analysis Found Unexpected, Missing Ingredients in Burgers

May 12, 2016 01:41 AM EDT

Hamburgers are considered to be one of the most eaten foods in the United States, despite previous reports stating the negative impacts of red meat in our health and environment. Due to their popularity, manufacturers and suppliers are doing their best in coping up with the increasing supply and widening customer preferences. The introduction of new modern meat processing techniques may increase productivity, but in the expense of product quality.

Clear Labs, a California-based upstart company, conducted an objective molecular analysis to provide new insights in the burger product analysis.

According to their report, among the 258 samples of hamburger meat from 79 brands and 22 retailers they have analyzed, 13.6 percent contained noticeable quality flaws such as contamination and missing ingredients. Their samples include ground meat, frozen patties, fast food burger products, and veggie burger products.

Their analysis also revealed that 23.6 percent of the 89 vegetarian products have problems, including two cases where they found meat in the vegetarian products. Other shocking discovery they made were three cases with rat DNA, one case with Human DNA and one black bean burger with no black bean.

They have also discovered that 4.3 percent of the products they have sampled contained pathogenic DNA, including DNA of E.coli, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Clostridium perfrigens.

In a press release, Dr. Michael Doyle, Regents Professor of Food Microbiology, Director, Center for Food Safety, Department of Food Science & Technology, University of Georgia, noted that finding some rat and human DNA in meat products is not that surprising. Even the pathogens found by the analysis of Clear Labs is not that alarming due to their low levels that can be mostly killed in the cooking process.

According to the report of Medical Daily, the most notable part of the analysis conducted by Clear Lab is the nutritional values of the product. Clear Labs discovered that 46 percent of the samples containing more calories than advertised and 49 percent of the samples containing more carbohydrates than advertised. Also, 38 out of the 47 fast food products that were tested contains more calories than what is indicated in their labels.

"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," reported Clear Labs.

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