Food & Drink

Here’s what’s actually inside burgers (and it’s a little bit gross)

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Chris Sayer
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Sometimes, science, we wish you’d just keep your big clever mouth shut.

In what are perhaps the least shocking experiment results ever, scientists in America have found traces of foreign DNAs lurking in our prized patties. Well, duh.

Food analysts from US laboratory Clear Labs conducted a pretty awesomely-named study called The Hamburger Report, in which they tested 258 burgers for traces of stuff that shouldn’t be there.

The study revealed a number of, um, off-the-menu items. One of which was human DNA.

But before you all pledge your allegiance to the altar of the vegetarian, just chill out a second. Human DNA was found in only one of the 258 samples, and was most likely a hair or a flake of skin that made its was in by accident. That, inevitably, happens when you’ve got a real-life human making your food, and not a soon-to-take-over-the-world robot. And only one in two hundred and fifty eight? In all honesty, we’d expected that to be way, waaay higher.

One point to the burgers.

 Unfortunately, things turn a little bit grosser from here on in. Perhaps go watch this funny egg-related prank instead of reading on if you’re planning on chowing on a Big Mac this lunchtime.

In three cases scientists found really-not-tasty rat DNA. Yeah, that’s grim. On top of that, 4.3% of the tests showed traces of pathogenic DNA. What’s a pathogenic DNA, we hear you ponder? Oh, it’s only the stuff that causes food poisoning. In four samples, Clear Labs stumbled across Yersinia pseudotuberculosis – a pathogen that causes tuberculosis-type symptoms. Oh, good.

Then, there was the black bean burger that had absolutely no black bean DNA in it whatsoever. Quite impressive, really.

Rat DNA and horrible illness germs aside, and in all honesty, these results have failed to shock us. We all know that when we pick up a cheap crappy burger at 3am after a big night out, we’re not holding a handful of pure clean-living Jamie Oliver goodness. We all know it’s wrong. We all know it’s dirty. But we all choose to not think about the badness and instead crack on with enjoying a stack of cheese, mayonnaise, meat and whatever the hell else has snuck between the buns in trace amounts.

Are these results way better or far worse than you first anticipated? Tell us in our poll below…

 

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Chris Sayer

Chris Sayer is a freelance journalist and editor based in London. Chris has interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment and travelled the world doing an all manner of adventures for lots of brilliant magazines. He writes for Shortlist about booze but would probably prefer we let him write about fishing instead. Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisSayer00

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