Does Hot Dogs Really Contain Human DNA?

Is there a food more maligned than the sizzling dog? The frankfurter is often criticized not because people enjoy the taste, but rather because we love to speculate about the “components” that make it so gross.

Remember the first time your friend told you that sizzling dogs are made from pigs’ anus, pigs’ lips, and hogs’ hooves? Many of us grew up believing in rumors that were not true but still fun to spread.

Sizzling Canines does not include anus. Pig anus may seem more appetizing than the latest sizzling dog accusation.

New research has revealed that sizzling dogs may have some human DNA in them, if the analysis is believed.

Human DNA is the right thing to do. As in, homo sapiens. The opposite of a chicken.

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Clear Labs, a Menlo Park-based startup that specializes in food analytics, conducted the research. They used “genomic technology” to study sizzling dogs on a cellular level. They examined 345 hot dogs from 75 different manufacturers and found “human DNA” in only 2% of samples and 2/3rds in vegetarian samples.

This sounds terrifying. Many people on the Internet were in a panic.

If you did the math, it would be alarming. According to the National Sizzling Canine and Sausage Council, Americans consume around 20 billion hot dogs a year. That’s 70 hot dogs per person. If this new analysis proves to be accurate, then 1.4 of the sizzling dogs you eat each year contain bits of people.

Hope you loved your lunch, Hannibal Lecter.

Let’s take a breath. This is not a case of someone finding a pinkie inside a Hebrew Nationwide. This information is from a study by a relatively new group, which uses Kickstarter to fund much of its research.

Andrew L. Milkowski Ph.D. is a professor in the Division of Animal Sciences at the University of Wisconsin. He says that he has “suspicious about the quality of the data (Clear Lab) provides.”

Milkowski, after reviewing the company’s website and research, claims that while the founders are molecular geneticists, they have “no experience or training in food or agriculture” so “they present limited information on their methodology.” Do they have a laboratory quality procedure that includes both positive and negative reference patterns for their analyses? How can they ensure that there are no false positives?

Milkowski says: “Definitely, their data would make for some juicy headlines to promote their group. However, I personally do not believe any of it.”

As of this writing Clear Lab representatives have not responded to requests for comment.

Let’s assume, for the sake argument, that Clear Labs analysis strategies and results will be trusted. How did human DNA end up in hotdogs and other foods? Can that be done?

If you’re able to stomach it, watch this video on how sizzling dogs are made.


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