Food safety, traceability and sustainability blog

Supplier Management / Consumers / Traceability

Breaking Brand: What the Hot Dog Report Means for Food Traceability

When consumers buy food based on the contents of the label on that food, they - rightfully so - expect to get what they pay for. Well, what happens when the label is wrong? For some consumers, they may never even know. But for people with extreme or even mild food allergies, the results can be terrifying. Well, now a food lab using next-generation DNA sequencing is out to expose exactly what food is being mislabeled.

And they started with hotdogs. 

Clear Food has released The Hot Dog Report and the results are alarming. The report reveals that 10 percent of vegetarian hot dogs they tested contained exactly what they aren't supposed to contain...meat.  The company analyzed a total of 345 hot dog samples from 75 brands and included both meat-based and meat-free products. Additional findings include: 

  • Evidence of chicken (in 10 samples), beef (in 4 samples), turkey (in 3 samples), and lamb (in 2 samples) in products that were not supposed to contain those ingredients.
  • Products that were labeled pork-free--a staple in Kosher diets for religious reasons--actually did contain traces of pork.
  • Some product labels indicated the inclusion of only one type of meat, but testing showed that two or more meats were present.
  • Other products claimed to include certain ingredients that testing never detected.
  • Approximately 2 percent of all tested samples had hygiene issues included traces of human DNA. Most of these items were vegetarian hot dogs.

Clear Food also shared which brands they believe to be the most trustworthy in terms of serving consumers what their food labels promise. For vegetarians, the most trusted brand was Trader Joe’s. For meat eaters, Clear Food gave kudos to Whole Foods’ 365 brand, Hebrew National, Ball Park, Johnsonville, Oscar Mayer, Aidell’s, and Taveritte’s.

According to the Clear Food website, the company's mission is to "reveal the whole story—the one behind the label" and that they believe "you should feel confident in the food you're putting on the table."

Well, they certainly aren't the only ones. Consumers are craving more and more information on their food - and if this new company's fundraising is any indication, this trend is not going away. While the company was just launched this month and just released its first report, they are already tracking nicely on KickStarter to fully fund the next report within days of releasing the first one. 

Just imagine the damage this does to a brand. Guess what happens when you find out your favorite gluten-free bagel actually contains wheat? Or that your favorite cereal you feed to your son every day isn't actually GMO-free? Consumer trust goes out the window completely. 

So how are major food brands and companies able to protect themselves from this type of exposure? By executing a clear, transparent supply chain with suppliers who believe in your brand promise.  Ensure you are getting the actual product from suppliers into your food chain you are marketing to your consumers.

With end-to-end product traceability, you can monitor your entire supply chain network, test for issues that conflict with your brand promise and choose to do business with suppliers who are able to provide food products that 100% match what you are communicating to your customers.    

need help with traceability

Posted by Katy Jones on Oct 26, 2015 3:38:22 PM

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