Human and rat DNA found in burgers, according to lab report

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Americans eat nearly 50 billion hamburgers a year, but a recent report by a food research company has some burger lovers cringing.

In both meat and vegetarian patties, Clear Labs found some additional ingredients that may turn the stomachs of the hardiest eaters, according to “The Hamburger Report,” a molecular study of a beloved American food.

Researchers also pointed out the conspicuous absence of other ingredients — like beans missing from a vegetarian black bean burger.

“This report provides new insights into the burger product industry to give suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers a representative overview of the supply chain at large and provides insights based on an objective molecular analysis into how we can strengthen the good and improve the bad,” the company wrote on its website.

Here are more of the findings:

  • 6% of meat burgers were identified as problematic with substitution, hygienic issues, and pathogenic contamination
  • 1 sample tested positive for human DNA
  • 3 samples tested positive for rat DNA
  • 46% of samples contained more calories than reported on labels or in menus
  • 49% of samples contained more carbohydrates than reported
  • 6% of vegetarian burgers were identified as problematic with substitution, hygienic issues, and pathogenic contamination
  • In one black bean burger, there were no black beans
  • In 2 cases, meat was found in vegetarian products

The lab results come from 258 samples of ground meat, frozen patties, fast-food burger products and veggie burger products from 79 brands and 22 retailers.

Clear Labs used next-generation genomic sequencing (NGS) and other third party tests to screen the samples for authenticity, major, medium, and minor substitution, contamination, gluten, toxigenic fungi and toxic plants, other allergens, and missing ingredients. They also examined the products for nutrition content accuracy, such as calories, carbs, fat, and protein.

Clear Labs says it wants to “help the food industry future-proof their supply chains, reduce the risk of costly recalls, and generally improve qualities of safety and quality by calling out all observable trends and insights at the molecular level, regardless of whether or not they are acceptable according to FDA guidelines.”

You can read the full report from Clear Labs here.

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The U.S. is launching a new ground-based missile defense system in Romania Thursday amid increased tensions with Russia.

The system, to be operated by NATO, is getting up and running nearly a decade after the U.S. first announced plans to do so, only to encounter pushback from Russia. The U.S. has long insisted that the shield is directed against rogue states like Iran and not intended to target Moscow’s missiles, but Russian officials have slammed the move as an “attempt to destroy the strategic balance” in Europe.

President Barack Obama scrapped the George W. Bush administration’s planned bilateral deployment of a different system to Poland and the Czech Republic and has instead pursued a NATO-centric approach using alternate technology.

The system is to be turned over to NATO command and will be housed at a U.S. naval support facility in Deveselu, Romania, the site of a Romanian military base. Construction will begin on an additional anti-missile platform in Poland on Friday.

The Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System being unveiled Thursday capable of firing SM-3 defensive missiles that can “defeat incoming short and medium range enemy missiles,” according to Lt. Shawn Eklund, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy.

Eklund told CNN that the facility will be manned by approximately 130 U.S. sailors. The inaugural ceremony for the new system will be attended by top U.S. and NATO military officials.

The Romania installation is the first land-based defensive missile launcher in Europe and will join other elements of the NATO defensive shield, including a command-and-control center at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, a radar installation in Turkey and four ships capable of identifying enemy missiles and firing their own SM-3s based in Rota, Spain.

The U.S. and NATO have continually stressed that the system is intended to defend Europe from Iran and its expanding arsenal. Tehran has continued to test-fire ballistic missiles following the internationally negotiated deal to limit its nuclear program.

But Russia has dismissed the justification.

In October, at a meeting of the meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Russia, Russian President Vladimir accused the U.S. of “lying” about a “hypothetical Iranian threat, which never existed” and called the system “an attempt to destroy the strategic balance.”

At a Wednesday press conference in Romania, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose pushed back on Putin’s perspective.

“Russia has repeatedly raised concerns that U.S. and NATO missile defenses are directed against Russia and represent a threat to its strategic nuclear deterrent,” he said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

He added that the “U.S. and NATO missile defense systems are directed against ballistic missile threats outside the Euro-Atlantic area. NATO and the United States have explained this to Russia many times over the years.”

Heather Conley, the director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told CNN that Russia has previously suggested that it could retaliate for the missile defense system by stationing S-300 surface-to-air missile systems in Crimea and Kaliningrad, its European enclave located between Poland and Lithuania.

President Barack Obama had previously drawn criticism from politicians in the U.S. and Europe for canceling the Bush-era plan to station land-based interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic in 2009. Obama was further criticized for announcing the change on the day of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland during World War II.

Conley said that announcement would “go down in the history of poorly timed announcements.”

Obama was also caught on an open mic in 2012 telling then-Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, that “After my election I have more flexibility,” with regard to the U.S.-led NATO missile defense system in Europe.

Obama’s posture made the Poles and Czechs “very concerned” that the entire missile defense project would be abandoned by his administration, according to Conley.

But, she said, “What they wound up getting with the current system was more robust than they had anticipated.”

Conley said that the Obama administration might have switched gears on the Bush plan in part because it may have been trying to “buy time in order to make the case” to Russia that the new system was not directed against them.

She referred to that period as “the heady days of the ‘Russian Reset’ and New START treaty,” an attempt by the newly inaugurated Obama to repair relations with Russia and sign a new arms reduction treaty — and signal that the missile defense shield wasn’t a threat.

But she added, “Despite an incredible amount of consultations with Russia, the Russians never bought the argument that the system was not directed at them.”

Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have increased in recent years following the Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and intervention in Eastern Ukraine.

In recent months, Russian military aircraft have flown within 50 feet of U.S. planes and ships, actions which Pentagon spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis, said had “the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between the two countries.”

CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

By Ryan Browne