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Just a day after news broke that meat may contain cancer-causing carcinogens, vegetarians aren’t escaping the fervor unscathed.

According to a study from Clear Labs, a food analytics start-up, 10 percent of vegetarian hot dogs actually contain real meat. Maybe even more shocking is that the company also found hygiene issues in its vegetarian samples, as well as human DNA in 2 percent of its hot dog samples.

In fact, 14.4 percent of the hot dogs and sausages that were tested were deemed “problematic.” Hot dogs were never thought to be the healthiest food, but finding out the nutritional label can be inaccurate, and veggie dogs can sometimes even include chicken and lamb, is a bit alarming. Not all results from Clear Foods’ testing was discouraging though, as brands like Butterball, McCormick, and Hebrew National led the pack with high marks, with each scoring 96 out of 100 based on Clear’s formula.

CNN spoke with Melinda Wilkins, a professor at Michigan State University who also specializes in food safety, regarding the “human DNA:”

“When you’re working with genetic material, depending on the analytic technique, you can detect a very, very small amount of DNA that’s not supposed to be in there,” she said. “So this accusation of finding human DNA in there, you can detect a very small amount, but they’re not quantifying the amount. It could be just a few cells versus a percentage content.”

…Clear can confirm that human DNA exists, but cannot confirm the specific source.

To put alarmed consumers at ease, Clear Labs co-founder Sasan Amini notes that the statistics are actually pretty menial, saying, “Any type of problem you’re reporting tends to be a minority problem if you look at the overall hot dog or sausage industry. This means that there are many (brands) out there that do not have any problems.”

Thankfully, the season for most hot dog consumption has come to an end, so hopefully these dawg manufacturers can fix things before our next Memorial Day barbecue.


Watch Your Buns: Meat Found In Veggie Hot Dogs, Human DNA Found In Real Hot Dogs  was originally published on