A new report from Clear Labs — the same food analysts who found that at least 10 percent of vegetarian hot dogs contain meat — suggests some troubling things about the making of veggie burgers.
In a sample of 89 veggie burgers collected from a range of brands, Clear Labs identified several problems with “substitution, hygienic issues, and pathogenic contamination.”
Testing also found two samples that contained beef DNA, one containing rat DNA, and one containing human DNA.
One purported “black bean burger” was found to contain no black beans at all, according to the study, while four of the veggie burgers tested did contain pathogenic DNA that could lead to food poisoning.
Also notable was the fact that the study, which examined the contents of all kinds of burgers, found that 23.6 percent of vegetarian patties contained “some form of discrepancy between product and label,” while just 13.6 percent of all samples tested indicated a discrepancy. Of the samples found to be missing ingredients listed on their labels, all 14 were vegetarian products.
“Our findings suggest that the beef industry as a whole has benefited from stringent regulation and aggressive testing requirements,” Clear Labs said in its report.
"Vegetarian products, however, were shown to have “pervasive issues in food quality.”
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The study does not cite specific brands but Clear Labs says its findings should help inform vegetarian burger producers "of unknown risks and the potential need for more stringent safety measures, and manufacturers should ensure there is clear, consistent, and adamant labeling of best-handling practices at home on all products."