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WRAL SmartShopper

Surprise ingredients found in hot dogs and sausages

Posted October 27, 2015

Sausage with vegetables

A company that uses genomic testing to analyze food ingredients found that over 14% of hot dogs and sausages they tested contained products you would not expect to find in them including some with human DNA!

The company, Clear Foods, analyzed 345 hot dogs and sausages that came from 75 different brands. The products were collected from 10 different retailers including Target, Walmart, Safeway, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and more.

Here are some of the key findings from the Clear Foods report:

* 14.4% of the tested hot dogs were "problematic" (meaning there were ingredient substitutions not on the label and hygiene issues including human DNA).

* 2% of the samples had human DNA.

* 10% of the vegetarian products contained meat.

* 3% of the products had pork substituted for chicken or turkey.

* 4 of the 21 vegetarian products they sampled had hygienic problems.

* The Kosher products they tested were 100% pork free (which is good news if you avoid pork).

The good news is that there were many brands that scored very high in this report including Butterball, Hebrew National, Eckrich, McCormick, Aidells, Jennie-O, Boar's Head, Oscar Mayer, Gardein, Yves Veggie Cuisine and more.

For a full list of specific products that no had no hygienic issues and no substitutions found in their testing, see ClearFood.com.

Does your favorite hot dog or sausage make the list of top dogs?


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  • jdouglas13 Oct 27, 2015

    Ewwww! I knew there was a reason I don't like hot dogs. Sometimes the more I read about meat, the more I think I should become vegetarian.

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Oct 27, 2015

    According to their FB page, they are not releasing the names of the products with the questionable ingredients (probably because they don't want a law suit).

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Oct 27, 2015

    wralfan1 - I would definitely like to see how the Morningstar veggie products fared in these tests. I eat a lot of them (including breakfast this morning).

  • wralfan1 Oct 27, 2015

    I wish they conduct similar study on Morningstar boca and traderjoes masala burgers