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Burgers in Canada are all beef

Canadian hamburger lovers can rest easy after researchers find all-beef burgers in Canada really are made of beef


Guelph, Ont. – There’s no need to ask where’s the beef in Canada, researchers say our hamburgers are all beef.

University of Guelph researchers say they used advanced DNA testing to examine Canadian hamburger meat and found reassurance for consumers: all the burgers tested were entirely beef.

The Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding, which is based at the University of Guelph’s Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO), tested 15 sources of Canadian hamburger meat, six cooked and nine frozen.

The testing took place in the wake of the horse meat scandal that is sweeping across Europe. Horse meat has been discovered in hamburger patties and other frozen foods.

The researchers used DNA barcoding, a molecular technique that was developed by an integrative biology professor at the university.

The technique allows scientists to match small DNA sequences from unknown specimens to those derived from expert-identified reference specimens.

The BIO has examined a number of products over the years, including hundreds of samples of seafood, and found multiple problems with mislabelling.

Uncooked, frozen hamburger patties were tested, including:

• Beef Steakettes (Schneiders),
• Lick’s Homeburgers,
• M&M Meat Shops Supreme Homestyle Beef Burgers,
• No Name Beef Burgers (Loblaws),
• Outlaw Beef Burgers (Schneiders),
• President’s Choice Thick and Juicy Beef Burgers, and
• Webers Beef Burgers. Fresh lean ground beef in a tube (Better Beef – Cargill), and
• Food Basics fresh lean ground beef were also tested.

All nine were 100-per-cent beef, with no other DNA sources.

Six cooked hamburgers were tested for DNA from horsemeat and other sources:

• A&W Mama Burger,
• Burger King’s Whopper,
• Dairy Queen’s FlameThrower,
• Harvey’s Original,
• McDonald’s Big Mac, and
• Wendy’s Bacon Double Cheeseburger.

All six were 100-per-cent beef, with no secondary DNA sources detected.


Deanna Rosolen

Deanna Rosolen

Managing Editor, Food in Canada
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