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Popular burgers sold in Canada don’t contain horsemeat: study

A double-patty cheeseburger made from fresh ground beef brisket and chuck with is shown in May, 2012. Researchers from the University of Guelph tested numerous fast food and frozen burgers sold in Canada and found that none of them contained horsemeat.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Popular fast food and frozen hamburgers being sold in Canada do not contain horsemeat, according to testing of a dozen different types of burgers by Ontario researchers.

Following reports that horsemeat was found in some frozen meat products in Europe, the University of Guelph-based Biodiversity Institute of Ontario used advanced DNA testing on a range of hamburgers sold in Canada and found they were 100 per cent beef.

The Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding at the institute tested six cooked burgers: A&W's Mama Burger, Burger King's Whopper, Dairy Queen's FlameThrower, Harvey's original burger, McDonald's Big Mac, and Wendy's Bacon Double Cheeseburger.

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The uncooked frozen hamburger patties tested included Beef Steakettes (Schneiders), Lick's Homeburgers, M&M Meat Shops Supreme Homestyle Beef Burgers, No Name Beef Burgers (Loblaws), Outlaw Beef Burgers (Schneiders), President's Choice Thick and Juicy Beef Burgers, and Webers Beef Burgers.

Fresh lean ground beef in a tube (Better Beef – Cargill) and Food Basics fresh lean ground beef were also tested.

The researchers used DNA barcoding, a molecular technique developed by University of Guelph integrative biology professor Paul Hebert. It allows scientists to match small DNA sequences from unknown specimens to those derived from expert-identified reference specimens.

"This testing is something all Canadians should be proud of – knowing the hamburger meat they are buying is beef with no substitutes detected or additions," Hebert said in a release.

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