What's even grosser is that it's still okay to eat

By Macaela Mackenzie
Updated: May 13, 2016

When we eat fast food meat (hey, sometimes a girl needs the occasional Big Mac) we try not to think about the, ahem, quality of the patty.

But according to an absolutely stomach-churning new report from Clear Labs, a collection of geonomic scientists who analyze food quality, your fast food burger might contain rat and even human DNA. Go ahead and take a moment to freak out. (Did you know You Can Pass "Fast Food" Genes On to Your Kids?)

For the study, the researchers looked at over 250 burger samples from 79 brands (everything from fast food to frozen patties) in California. They tested for allergens and contaminants and did some next generation sequencing of ingredients. And what they discovered was enough to make you want to eat at home for the rest of your life.

Clear found everything from a "black bean burger" with zero trace of black beans to the presence of meat in veggie burgers to rat DNA in fast food burgers. In one frozen veggie burger, they even found the presence of human DNA. (It's further proof that Your Vegetarian Meat Substitutes May Be Full of Lies.)

But before you go consider becoming a vegetarian , the report notes that these small amounts of contaminants probably aren't that big of a deal. "What many consumers don't know is that some amounts of human and rat DNA may fall within an acceptable regulatory range. The amounts we detected in our research most likely fell within the acceptable regulatory range as we understand them," says the report.

So even if these results make your stomach churn, they probably aren't harmful to your health. Of course, if it really makes you that squeamish (we don't blame you) avoid fast food chains which can have shady food sources and shop at grocery stores with a commitment to stocking solely sustainable, organic, or uber-trusworthy brands. (Thinking about going veggie? Try these Crazy-Good Burger Recipes for a Vegetarian Cookout.)


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