I am always skeptical of studies conducted by anyone that is not a reputable scientific journal, and this time is not any different.
Website ClearFood, a basically unknown research entity, made a study claiming to find a wide variety of cross-contamination in a ton of hotdogs. They claim to have found pork in hotdogs labeled Kosher, meat in Veggie Dogs, and even claimed that out of the 2% of hotdogs that had human DNA, 1.40%, or 2/3rds, of that 2% came from veggie dogs.
But is this study even reliable? Snopes certainly does not think so. This is mainly because clearfoods is brand new, does not give out reasonable evidence to show lab access and data security, and their study is not even dated, meaning the reports are novice at best. It was also not published in a reputable scientific journal, making the studies alone, suspect. Snopes had this to say:
Missing from the bevy of articles about human DNA in hot dogs (and meat in veggie dogs) was any explanation about how Clear Food determined those percentages, under which conditions testing occurred, whether any independent entities confirmed or duplicated the claims, and the methodology by which Clear Food arrived at their overall conclusions. Information on the site and Clear Food’s Kickstarter provided no information about their testing methods, the credibility of their research, or (most important) what the company’s specific objective might be. The flurry of interest bore many similarities to an earlier report claiming California wine was contaminated with arsenic, peddled by a company that tested alcoholic beverages for “purity.” Clear Food similarly touted its “Clear Score,” aimed “to reward the brands with the highest average scores” based on criteria known only by Clear Food.
Clearlabs has existed since 2014, even though their twitter claims they only launched their beta as of September 2015. but Clearfood, the website branch of Clearlabs, only came out a few months ago, with the earliest news entry about it appearing in early September. They also released their first article in order to jumpstart their kickstarter, which is right now standing at 84,000 out of 100,000 funded.
The company seems a bit biased as well, as they test food for GMO’s, Gluten, antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones, and has a huge fixation in being pro–organic and anti-GMO. They probably lower the score of foods that contain GMO’s and raise the score of organic foods, despite little to no evidence showing that GMO’s are bad or that organic is better. So I would definitely keep that bias in check when viewing their research.
It also does not help that when questioned by the meat industries press release, Clearlabs responded with:
Why not? That is a red flag to me. Publish the whole results or don’t publish any at all!
But more research needs to be done, and we need independent researchers to test the claims to see if they are accurate. Until we can get scientific independent verification, possibly published in peer reviewed science journals.