Turns Out Your Burger Has Rat Meat and Human DNA in It

Is that going to stop you paying £12 for one next time you're at the pub? NO IT IS NOT.

by Joel Golby
12 May 2016, 1:35pm

(Photo via Stu Spivack)

Yeah bad news in a way: a new study of anonymous burger samples has found many of them contain stuff like rat DNA, human DNA, and in certain vegetarian products, traces of meat. I dunno I just think, like... even though I know this information, I'm still going to eat burgers. Like I'm still going to do that to myself. I'm still going to eat burgers, even if I actively know now they got rat and jizz in the. Which makes me wonder: what would a burger have to do for me to not spend £12* on one next time I'm in the fucking pub? Burgers somehow organise an air strike on my hometown, thousands of burgers pelting into the concrete, hundreds dead? Even then I feel like I would forgive the low combination of meat and bread. O, burger! I am ever a servant in your greasy thrall.

* Would just like to forestall the northern commenters who come down here and remind us that things cost less than the national average in the north, "EY UP," the northern commentariat are saying, "YER CAN GET A SMALL ROUND DISK OF GREY MEAT BETWEEN A BIG DRIPPING COB FOR HALF A CROWN IN LEEDS, WHAT YER SAYING TWELVE POUND FOR?" treating me as if I am some idiot princeling for not knowing the price of things, that I am Elton John being quizzed on how much a pint of milk costs and saying, "I don't know, darling: twenty pounds? Thirty?" but I can assure you, northerners: I have paid £12 for a burger in a pub before. On more than one occasion. And every time I can review said rat 'n' cum burger as being 'okay, I guess'.

Anyway the study was undertaken by a company called Clear Labs, who got a big fuck off genome sequencer and put it to the test on 258 various anonimised burger samples. The burgers – variously fresh ground meat, frozen patties, vegetarian pea 'n' potato pucks and fast food samples – came from 79 brands across 22 retailers, and were screened for protein, carbohydrate and fat content as well as 'authenticity' i.e. were they the meat they said they were. Of the samples, three tested positive for rat DNA, one had human DNA in there, and 13% of the meat products were found to be in some way problematic (4.3% of samples contained pathogenic DNA, for instance). Of the vegetarian samples, 23% were found to be problematic with two samples containing traces of beef. A black bean burger was found to have no black beans in it.

READ: The Munchies Guide to British Food

Not all doom and gloom, though. Reacting to the findings, Dr Michael Doyle of the University of Georgia said: "Finding the DNA of salmonella or E.coli from a dead cell is not very helpful. Secondly, the pathogens they find, such as Yersinia enterocolitica and Aeromonas hydrophila, are not of common concern in foods.

"In terms of Clostridium perfrigens, you usually need to have millions of cells in the food in order to cause illness. And, it's not uncommon to find low levels in meats, which contain some C. perfringens naturally." So, basically: cook your burgers and don't eat anything with millions of cells of poison in and you should more or less be fine. Something to bear in mind this weekend when you and all 8.5 million of the other residents of the city descend on London Fields this weekend to do shit barbecues and play obnoxiously spread out games of frisbee together.


More stuff from VICE:

A Boy's Guide to Not Being a Dick This Summer

Eating Dirty With Ruby Tandoh #5: Burger King

We Ate Rat Salad