Feature.MoneyMeatPackaging

Study Finds Ground Meat Often Mislabeled in US

Horse meat and other species found in mislabeled meat products.


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Up to twenty percent of ground meat in the US is mislabeled, according to a new study conducted at Chapman University. Researchers bought 48 ground-meat products from supermarkets and specialty meat retailers—both online and in stores—and tested them using DNA barcoding. The results found that 10 of the 48 were mislabeled: nine contained additional species unlisted on the label, and one label was entirely inaccurate. Horse meat, which is illegal to sell in the US, appeared in two of the samples. Whether the mislabeling found in this study is due to cross-contamination during processing or intentional mixing of lower-cost meat species into meats with higher retail prices, a similar 2013 published report in the UK caused a decrease in meat consumption in that country.

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