Hot Dogs Actually Grosser Than You Might Think

We all joke about hot dogs being mystery meat, but most of us don’t really want that mystery solved. Unfortunately, someone went right ahead and solved it anyway.

Clear Labs, a Bay Area food analytics company, just released a report that aims to "guide consumers towards more informed grocery shopping decisions" by performing DNA analysis of food contents and comparing the results to the claims made on the label.

The first report — the company plans to do a series — focused on hot dogs and sausages, analyzing 345 samples from 75 distinct brands. The company found 14.4% of the franks featured “were problematic in some way.” And they’re not talking about micro-aggressions.

Clear Labs found undisclosed pork in 3% of sample, and meat in 10% of “vegetarian” hot dogs. Apparently companies also inflated the protein content of their hot dogs by up to 250%.

Oh, and there was human DNA in 2% of the dogs tested. Yum!

Recommended brands included Oscar Meyer beef franks, followed by Ball Park and Hebrew National. Trader Joe’s claims are true about their hot dogs' vegetarian status. Kosher brands typically did a good job excluding pork, but chicken sausages did not. (Imagine not getting into heaven because you ate the wrong hot dog.) Hot dog peddlers Nathan’s and Vienna Beef were not recommended.

Clear Foods just posted a Kickstarter to fund further research, possibly on favorites like sushi or hamburgers. Donate if you want, but sometimes it’s better not knowing.
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