Americans love to eat hotdogs; they spent $2.5 billion on this processed food last year. But a food analytics lab has found that there are unwanted and potentially dangerous ingredients lurking in hotdogs that consumers are not aware of.
Clear Labs, a startup that uses genomic technology to analyze foods at a molecular level, looked at 345 hotdogs and sausages from 75 brands sold at 10 different food retailers. The company found that 14.4 percent of the products examined contained ingredients that were not disclosed on the label.
The DNA analysis revealed unexpected ingredients as well with some of the products found to contain meat not found on the label such as meat in vegetarian products. Human DNA was also found in 2 percent of the samples and even in some of the vegetarian samples. Some of the ingredients that were advertised on the labels were not likewise found.
"The food industry has been a black box for too long. Food consumers have to trust that food labels are accurate, but that isn't always the case," said Clear Labs CEO Sasan Amini. "We've found a 10 to 15 percent rate of discrepancy between labeled ingredients and actual ingredients across our internal tests to date."
Some individuals opt for chicken and turkey sausages to avoid pork but there were evidences of pork substitution in 3 percent of the samples tested. Pork was found to make its way to chicken and turkey sausages.
"Pork is a particularly unwelcome substitution in any food when you consider that significant numbers of people do not eat pork for religious reasons," the report reads "Pork substitution was an issue in products across the price spectrum being sold at a wide variety of retailers."
Based on the analysis, Clear Labs recommended that consumers who want to avoid pork steer free of chicken products and opt for Kosher brands like Hebrew National as the Kosher products that were tested were found to be 100 percent pork-free.
Price does not appear to be an indicator of the quality and safety of hotdog products. Clear Labs said that it did not find correlation between price and the Clear Score, which represents how closely the claims of the product label match the actual molecular content.
Target, Safeway and Walmart were identified as top retailers of hotdogs and sausages based on their Clear Score.