As Clear Labs’ latest report on burger products, The Hamburger Report, has gained widespread media attention, the North American Meat Institute is sounding an alarm about the findings. Clear Labs is a “fledging company” that is “up to its same old tricks”, using burgers as its target just in time for the grilling season, said Betsy Booren, Ph.D., vice president, scientific affairs at the North American Meat Institute, in a statement from the organization.
Read the article on Food Safety Tech: Next-Gen Sequencing Exposes Problems with Burgers
“A review of the company’s procedures suggest[s] collection methods prone to mistakes and a range of errors throughout the analysis process. A look at the company’s own promotional video featuring shots of overpacked freezers and technicians testing products using plastic forks and knives with paper towels would suggest cross contamination in the lab is a very good possibility,” said Booren. “When a single cell can generate a finding, precise methods are crucial. It’s entirely possible that the human DNA found could be linked back to the company’s own staff—we just don’t know. Likewise, when the lab company suggests some products showed the presence of another species, like chicken in a beef product, this finding could also stem from a single cell and even result from the pulling samples from multiple packages in the same room, as the company appears to have done.”
Booren called Clear Labs’ report a marketing ploy and went on to assert that today’s ground beef is safer than ever, saying there have been significant reductions in pathogenic bacteria, which has been “further confirmed by this report [The Hamburger Report]”.