What is Inside Your Frankfurter?

MALAYSIA - Scientists have developed a new method that could help prevent frankfurter fraud.
calendar icon 12 August 2016
clock icon 2 minute read

Hot dogs are the perfect summer fare. But knowing for sure what you're getting inside a bun can be difficult. It is also especially important for those who cannot eat certain types of meats.

Currently, testing the authenticity of a meat product involves sampling its DNA, amplifying the genetic material with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and looking for certain markers. But existing methods often only search for one, long DNA sequence, which could break down during food processing and lead to false results.

Md. Eaqub Ali and colleagues wanted to come up with a more reliable approach.

The new approach looks for pairs of short DNA sequences from beef, buffalo and pork in hot dogs.

They used their approach on 20 beef franks that they bought in markets in Malaysia, where the researchers are based. Testing showed their target sequences were stable under food processing conditions. The researchers also found that all of the hot dogs labeled as "beef" also contained buffalo meat.

The scientists report the approach in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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