Tests find rat and human DNA in US hamburgers
Think that burger you’re biting into is all-beef? Even if it’s advertised that way, there’s a small chance that you could ingest substituted ingredients or even contaminants from rats or humans, according to a new study.
A report from the California-based food analytics company Clear Labs sampled 258 hamburger products, including ground beef, frozen patties, fast-food and veggie burgers. Three of the samples had traces of rat DNA, and one was positive for traces of human DNA.
While these results are definitely less than appetizing, it should be noted they amount to a small fraction of the samples being contaminated by a human or rat hair during production.
“The most likely cause is hair, skin, or fingernail that was accidentally mixed in during the manufacturing process,” Clear Labs said, referring to the human DNA finding.
Some contamination is expected by food regulatory authorities, since very low traces of contaminants are not harmful to humans, the report added.
“The low incidence of hygienic issues surfaced by our study is a testament to the burger industry as a whole and the stringent protocols for safe food handling. As noted by the FDA, certain low levels of contamination are acceptable,” Clear Labs said.