The Bad News: Rat and Human DNA Found in Hamburger Samples. The Good News…

“T he most unappetizing results of a recent test of 258 burgers at their molecular level found three instances in which the meat contained rat DNA and one in which human DNA was found.”

That is the good news — if you want to consider three out of 258 hamburger samples pertaining to rat deoxyribonucleic acid to be good news — as according to this article written by Beth Kowitt for Fortune

The Bad News: Rat and Human DNA Found in Hamburger Samples. The Good News...

…and if you happen to observe a vegetarian diet, the news is not any better: “The group of 89 vegetarian products was especially troubling: 23.6% of the meat-free products had an issue. That’s about twice the level of the overall sample group.” Two samples of the vegetarian burger samples contained meat; and one of the samples was one of the three hamburger samples which contained rat deoxyribonucleic acid.

The aforementioned article also details other anomalies which some people might find disturbing which were found in samples of hamburgers — which covered 79 brands from 22 retailers — where approximately 14 percent of the samples proved to be problematic in some way: a black bean burger which contained no beans; a lamb burger which contained beef; and 38 of 47 fast food hamburgers tested contained more calories than claimed by their respective companies as three of a number of examples.

The good news is that hamburger standards have been more stringent since the E. coli outbreaks of Jack in the Box and Burger King restaurants in the 1990s.


Yes, even three samples of 258 hamburgers with rat deoxyribonucleic acid are three samples too many — but we also live in a world where avoiding insect fragments in our food is not only virtually impossible, but insects are purposely included in our food.

I remember visiting a friend whom I have known since elementary school; and just as I was explaining from where the meat of the hamburger one of his sons was eating came from, his wife interrupted me and stopped me short, fearing that he would not eat his hamburger knowing it came from a cow.

Killing a cow and slaughtering it probably would dissuade me from eating another hamburger — temporarily, anyway — as they can be oh so good to eat.

I do not mind vegetarian hamburgers or turkey hamburgers — both of which I had no choice but to eat when I assisted in the cleanup on the Mississippi Gulf Coast due to the aftermath of the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina, as no beef was to be found. The key for me was to not compare them as hamburgers; but rather as entities as separate as frankfurters and pizza. I must admit that I did like the fact that there would be no possibility of finding gristle in a vegetarian hamburger; and when dressed with all of the toppings — tomatoes, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, pickles and other condiments and items — and placed on a bun, the differences are more difficult to notice.

For lunch earlier today, I had a hamburger — and even after reading the aforementioned article, I do not in the least feel queasy, as food in the United States is generally safe; but although I will continue to eat hamburgers, I will be the first to acknowledge that food safety in the United States could always be safer…

…and I have one more anomaly about which I am actually glad to report: no ham samples were found in the hamburgers which I have consumed recently — including the one I ate earlier today.

Bon appétit.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “The Bad News: Rat and Human DNA Found in Hamburger Samples. The Good News…”

  1. GUWonder says:

    I remember some decades ago learning that regulators didn’t consider it to be a food safety or other violation if processed food had some small amount of insects in it. I think the example was that a bit of grasshopper in your corn chips was not against the rules.

    If people examined all their food very, very closely — at the lab testing level — they may be so grossed out that people may stop eating anything until they feel hungry. And then nature would kick in and we’d be back to eating the same old junk. 😀

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You are absolutely correct, GUWonder

      …and that does not even include the legendary stories of what goes on with food in the kitchens of catering establishments and restaurants — food dropped on the floor and placed back on the plate and employees spitting on it as two of many examples…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.