A study of both meat and vegetarian hot dogs has revealed a glut of unadvertised and decidedly unappetising ingredients – including human DNA.
The unnerving news comes from the American study by watchdog Clear Food Labs, which also found that 10% of vegetarian sausages contain meat.
The company, which genetically tests food products, examined 345 hot dog samples from 75 brands.
According to the findings:
- 14.4% of the hot dogs analysed were ‘problematic’ (ingredient substitutions and hygiene issues)
- Human DNA was found in 2% of the samples
- 10% of the vegetarian products contained meat including chicken and pork
- Labels of some vegetarian products exaggerated the amount of protein in the item by as much as 2.5 times
- 4 of the 21 vegetarian samples had ‘hygienic issues’
- Unlabelled pork substitutions were found in 3% of the samples
Melinda Wilkins, a professor at Michigan State University who also specializes in food safety, told CNN: “The use of genetic analysis in this type of setting is actually fascinating.
“I think we’re going to see a lot more of this type of analysis happening, seeing how well food content matches food label.”
Of the worrying presence of human DNA, she remarked: “When you’re working with genetic material, depending on the analytic technique, you can detect a very, very small amount of DNA that’s not supposed to be in there.
“So this accusation of finding human DNA in there, you can detect a very small amount, but they’re not quantifying the amount. It could be just a few cells versus a percentage content.”
The Clear Food report states: “We were surprised to find that prepared vegetarian sausages face some pretty serious challenges including hygienic and substitution issues. Finding even trace amounts of meat in vegetarian products is troubling, especially because many vegetarians abstain from eating meat for dietary, ethical and religious reasons.”
To check out the report in full and see which hot dogs are “safe” click here.