Vegetarian hot dogs may actually contain meat and human DNA, a recent study has shown.
The research was conducted by Clear Labs, a company headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, which employs molecular food testing technology in order to ensure optimal product quality in the global food industry.
Experts analyzed 345 hot dogs and sausages from 75 different brands and 10 retailers. After a thorough molecular food testing process, Clear Food staff managed to identify potential allergens and other hidden components which regular analysis might have failed to detect.
They assigned each item a Clear Score, based on the correspondence between its label claims and its real ingredients. By and large, the findings were nothing short of disturbing. According to food experts, around 14.4% of the samples were “problematic in some way”.
More precisely, although vegetarian hot dogs should obviously be devoid of any animal ingredient, it was proven that around one in ten of these products actually contained meat.
Chicken was especially prevalent in these supposedly vegetarian items, with other types of meat such as beef, turkey and lamb being less common.
For example, researchers identified pork in around 3% of the food items that had been actually labelled as kosher, although, according to Jewish dietary law, consuming such meat coming from “unclean animals” is strictly forbidden.
Another problem signaled by the company was the fact that food producers had grossly overestimated the amount of protein which these hot dogs and sausages actually contained.
For instance, one sample was labelled as having 2.5 times more protein content than it was proven through molecular testing.
Even more shockingly, Clear Labs detected hygienic issues related to the presence of human DNA in 2% of the products which were included in the trial, and in two thirds of the vegetarian samples.
The food analytics company also created a hierarchy of the best hot dogs and sausages, based on overall quality and specific ingredients.
It was established that Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo might be the most suitable alternative for vegetarian customers.
When it came to meat products, the safest choices appeared to be Oscar Meyer beef franks, Ball Park hot dogs and Hebrew National kosher beef franks.
On the other hand, Clear Labs experts thought it would be best to avoid brands such as Nathan’s and Vienna Beef.
Nowadays, around 20 billion hot dogs are consumed by Americans on a yearly basis, according to estimations made by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
In 2014, U.S. buyers spent around $2.74 billion on dinner sausages and around a fifth of this sum on breakfast sausages. Also, they purchased almost 1 billion packages of hot dogs in retail stores, amounting to approximately $2.5 billion.
Hot dogs and sausages are especially popular at major league baseball stadiums, so it’s no wonder that the top 10 cities when it comes to consuming these iconic food items are also famous for their MLB teams.
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