Hot dog sausages contain human DNA, study says, and many vegetarian ones contain meat

Of all the hot dogs tested, 14.4 per cent had hygiene issues or substitutions — and other sausages like vegetarian ones were far worse

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 27 October 2015 11:58 GMT
Sauce is poured onto a hot dog — but what lurks inside the sausage?
Sauce is poured onto a hot dog — but what lurks inside the sausage? (Getty Images)

Hot dogs have been found to include human DNA and 10 per cent of vegetarian sausages actually include meat, according to a new study.

A company has performed a molecular analysis on popular hot dog sausages, and found that 14 per cent of them were “problematic in some way”. Such sausages included the wrong meats, unhygienic additions — and even traces of human DNA.

Vegetarian sausages were found in many cases to include meat. And that didn’t just include contamination by meat from animals — the study also found that many vegetarian sausages included human DNA.

In all of the 345 hot dogs studied, 2 per cent of them had human DNA inside, according to the study. Two in three of those were vegetarian sausages.

The findings were reported by a new startup called Clear Food. The company didn't explain how it had conducted the study or detail its process, but said that it had done so using "genomic analysis technology".

The company didn’t say exactly where the human DNA came from — and its presence doesn’t necessarily mean that eating the sausages meant eating human flesh. It’s more likely that the traces were introduced through unhygienic processes while they were being made, meaning that spit, dandruff or traces of skin could have come off and gone into the food.

And in meat sausages, company appear to be substituting different ingredients for those advertised on labels.

Pork was found in a number of sausages that weren’t supposed to contain it, such as chicken and turkey sausages. That could be particularly difficult for some religious customers who refrain from eating products made out of pigs.

“Pork substitution was an issue in products across the price spectrum being sold at a wide variety of retailers,” according to the company that undertook the report. It said that generally there was no correlation between the price of a sausage and the likelihood of it containing meat despite claiming to be vegetarian, or the presence of human DNA.

The company recommended that those who needed to avoid pork stick with well-known religious brands, rather than eating sausages that advertise themselves as being made of chicken. All of the Kosher products that were tested were completely pork free, the study said.

The study was done by Clear Food, a company that uses genetic sequencing to work out exactly what is inside food.

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