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What’s in a Fast Food Burger?

Last week, McDonald’s announced that they would stop using ammonia-treated trimmings in their hamburgers. Dubbed “pink slime” by a USDA microbiologist, ammoniated beef is one of many surprises found in fast food burgers. In the Annals of Diagnostic Pathology, anatomic pathologists at the Cleveland Clinic dissected burgers from 8 different fast food chains to see what was inside. Their research paper entitled “Fast food hamburgers: what are we really eating?” is profiled in my video pick for the day, shown above.

The pathologists saw Sarcocystis parasites in a quarter of the burgers. What percentage of retail U.S. beef samples in general are infested with these parasites? (Find out in USDA Parasite Game.) What percentage of U.S. lambs are infected with Toxoplasma parasites? (Watch Brain Parasites in Meat.) What percentage of fish fillets are ridden with Anisakis worms? (See Allergenic Fish Worms.)

Besides parasites, what else might be lurking in our meat supply?

In 2008, the same research group applied their expertise to evaluate hot dogs. Find out what percentage of a frankfurter they determined to be muscle meat in What Is Really in Hot Dogs?

You may not want to know.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Image credit: Dois Espressos / Flickr

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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6:00AM PDT on May 2, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

12:19PM PDT on Sep 6, 2012

YUMMY!!!! NOT!!! This is why I never eat at fast food places and I bring my own lunch to school.

9:15PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

I was surprised. I do wanna have a research about fast food hamburgers. Thanks for this info.

6:37AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

To be frank, I'm not surprised.

6:35AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

Perfect comment, Audra!

3:48PM PDT on Apr 24, 2012


1:17AM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

Disgusting. So glad I haven't eaten that crap in 17 years.

12:34PM PDT on Mar 18, 2012

I don't like fast food,anyway.

6:40AM PDT on Mar 18, 2012

The Doctor himself is overweight BUT his female assistant taking the blood samples is herself OBESE !! Has the Doctor checked her out?

5:23PM PST on Feb 15, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

I prefer mine 1/2 café latte

I love peppermint and cinnamon, I'm going to try this:)

Of course if you can't feel the ribs on your vet, you should probably avoid bringing him/her brownie…

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