Purpose: The objective of the study was to analyze hotdog products sold by national brands and compare their product labels and ingredient lists to the results of the analyses.
Methods: Three hundred forty-five hot dog products were purchased and were sampled for DNA extraction. Following extraction, universally accepted regions for animals, plants, and bacteria were amplified, in a 96-well format, using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). PCR products were sequenced on a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platform to identify species in products.
Results: 14.4% of purchased products indicated ingredient substitution, unexpected ingredients, or hygienic issues. Ten percent of all vegetarian products contained meat DNA, despite no claims on the product labels. Vegetarian products also accounted for 67% of hygienic issues, such as human DNA.
Significance: The usage of NGS to identify species present in a food product can allow for a more honest food industry. Detecting ingredient and/or label accuracy will encourage transparency in the food industry and allow consumers to make informed food choices that fit a variety of lifestyles.