Report: Human, Rat DNA Found in Burgers
But it probably won't hurt you
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2016 7:51 AM CDT
What lies within?   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – Are burgers on the menu? You may want to take a look at the Hamburger Report before you fire up the grill. 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, KHOU reports. 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). 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."

On the positive side, they say "our findings suggest that the beef industry as a whole has benefited from stringent regulation and aggressive testing requirements." 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."
Read the whole report here.