Clear Labs, a new food analytics startup company, has released results from studies that suggest that ten per cent of vegetarian hot dogs contain some amounts of meat DNA.
Furthermore, many products that were supposed to contain only one variety of meat were found to contain DNA from other meat. For example, DNA from meat such as chicken, beef, turkey or pork was found in products that were not supposed to contain those varieties of meat.
Clear Labs was founded by two people who used to work at established genetics companies (Illumina, Inc. and Bina Technologies), and one who has a PhD in Genomics from Princeton. The process through which they analyze food is also described in detail at clearlabs.com/technology
Despite the experience of the founders and the detail on their website, some people are doubting the legitimacy of the reports; Snopes has a lengthy article questioning the methodology of Clear Labs and referencing certain factors that they feel are not made clear enough or detailed enough in the report.
However, if the reports are accurate, these findings have concerning implications for anyone who does not eat meat, whether for health, religion, lifestyle, ethics or other reasons.
What some people are describing as particularly “shocking” is the find that some products also contain a small amount of human DNA. However, rather than an example of companies grinding up human flesh or something similarly “shocking,” The Daily Mail reports that this DNA could be something as inconsequential as a hair or a fingernail that happened to fall into the product. It is up to consumers to decide whether they consider the possibility of a hair falling into a product from an employee to be “shocking” or unexpected news.