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Not Always Just Beef in That Burger

Hamburgers don't always contain only beef, but sometimes even bear or elk, Chris Weland, forensic analyst at the University of Guelph’s Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding, has found. In addition, salami sometimes contains lion meat, wild boar, or black bear, adds the Western Producer, a publication aimed at farmers and ranchers in western Canada.

Weland, the Western Producer writes, uses DNA barcoding to determine just what might be in what is labeled as beef or fish. For example, lower quality beef is sometimes labeled as something that'll fetch a higher price or, similarly, a less expensive fish is marked as a more expensive one. The US Food and Drug Administration has adopted the approach, employing Weland on at least a few occasions.

“You never know what you are buying on the grocery store shelves,” Weland says.