The world of meat-eaters got a rude awakening earlier this year when it was found that meat passed off as beef in the U.K. was actually horse meat. But, if you thought meat in the U.S. was safe from secret ingredients, the bliss of your ignorance may soon be shattered. A recent analysis into several different fast food hamburgers found relatively little meat, and a whole host of other “stuff”.
According to GreenMedInfo, the study was to determine what exactly Americans are eating when they consume their 5 billion hamburgers annually. The burgers, from 8 different fast food establishments, were analyzed by weight and then microscopically for tissue types.
Their analysis found that water constituted about half of the weight of the burgers, with water content ranging from 37.7% to 62.4%, with an average of 49%. Meat, what you’d expect to make up the majority of the burgers, was found to be as low as 2.1% in some cases, to the maximum of 14.8% in others.
If you think that those providing the least meat did so to cut costs and deliver savings to you, you’d be wrong. The researchers found that the cost per gram of hamburger ranged from $0.02 to $0.16 and was not related to the meat content of the burger. In other words, the cost was likely related to what was on the burger, the packaging, the fast-food company’s greed, or the name on the greasy bag.
In addition to a whole lot of water and a little meat (muscle tissue), the burgers contained connective tissue, blood vessels, peripheral nerves, adipose tissue, plant materials, bone, and cartilage. In other words, the burgers were a slew of animal parts with only brain tissue missing.
In two of the studied hamburgers, intracellular (Sarcocystis) parasites were found. Also present, ammonia—used in sterilizing the meat and creating what is known as “pink slime.”
If you really thought your value menu burger contained mostly meat, you haven’t been paying attention. Though this is an interesting study to be sure, it isn’t the first of its kind and it won’t be the last. Fast food makers are interested in profit. Any seeming thought to your health is purely done to increase their bottom line. Your best bet: to avoid these messengers of death altogether.