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New Study Reveals 10 Percent Of Vegetarian Hot Dogs Contain Meat

One in 10 vegetarian hot dogs contain meat, according to new study by the food lab Clear Food.

The lab, a food analytics startup, found that 10 percent of vegetarian hot dog products contained meat, such as chicken in vegetarian breakfast sausages and pork in vegetarian hot dogs. Researchers also discovered an unusual amount of human DNA in the hot dogs, probably from hair or nails.

Two-thirds of the sampled vegetarian hot dogs contained human DNA.

Clear Food has claimed that traces of contamination can be picked up by their molecular tests, compared to other tests that miss the same details.

In total, 14.4 percent of hot dogs and sausage were “problematic,” according to Clear Food's study.

Despite the bad outlook for vegetarian hot dogs, Clear Food pointed out that there were few issues overall in the sausage and hot dog industry.

“Any type of problem you’re reporting tends to be a minority problem if you look at the overall hot dog or sausage industry,” Clear Labs co-founder Sasan Amini said, according to CNN. “This means that there are many [brands] out there that do not have any problems.”

Cornell University professor and food safety expert Martin Wiedmann noted that the results of the study are insignificant.

“This is telling us nothing new about hot dogs,” Wiedmann told CNN. “It’s a sensationalist marketing ploy by companies designed to sell their services.”

On the other hand, Michigan State University professor Melinda Wilkins called the results “intriguing.” She noted that the use of genetics in the analysis was fascinating and that more of that type of analysis should occur in regard to food content. 

The Clear Food lab analyzed 345 hot dogs and sausages for the study.

Sources:, CNN, Clear Foods study

Photo Credit: CNN, U.S. Embassy London/Flickr


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