Under the Microscope: A Molecular Analysis of Burger Products

by, Clear Labs

We’re excited to release our first industry-facing report – a comprehensive molecular analysis on burger products. We tested 258 samples of ground meat, frozen patties, veggie burgers and fast food, from 79 brands and 22 retailers. You can read the whole hamburger report here.

Why hamburgers? For one, Memorial Day is right around the corner and hamburgers will definitely be on the menu. But more importantly, the hamburger industry is experiencing a tectonic shift. Consumer preferences are changing; people are consuming less and less beef and alternative burger options are quickly gaining popularity. This can be attributed to a number of different factors, including rising beef costs and health trends that point consumers away from red meat.

We also believe it has a lot to do with consumer trust. Trust comes from consistently delivering safe and quality products. And really, we think that’s good for everyone – industry and consumers alike.

At their core, these reports are for the food industry. We sought to answer questions that would lead us to actionable insights: How will the beef industry differentiate in a struggling meat market? How can alternative burger choices continue to grow? How can we preserve the legacy of the hamburger, while keeping millions of consumers safe?

Our reports are powered by our unbiased next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform. NGS technology allows us to look blindly into food samples and uncover everything that’s there – from bacterial contamination and allergens to surprising substitution and missing ingredients.

We pair our testing with additional third-party tests, like nutrition analysis, using partner labs that we trust.

Our goal is to highlight some of the trending issues in the industry, so retailers, manufacturers, and even suppliers can proactively identify and address threats and opportunities in their supply chain.

In this particular report, we found significant issues (meaning substitution, missing ingredients, hygienic problems or pathogens) in about 14% of our burger samples. That’s a bit higher, than what we’ve seen in our past consumer-facing reports. Problems we found included ingredient substitution, pathogens, missing ingredients (like no black beans in a black bean burger!), and hygienic issues.

And yes, we found rat.

Want to know more? Check out the report for yourself here.

Learn more about our reporting by reading the Clear Labs Reports FAQ.

And if you’re curious to know what happened with Clear Food, see our post on that here.

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