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Future Tech: 

Genetic testing for your Thanksgiving dinner


If you were trying to make a healthier choice this Thanksgiving by filling up on turkey and avoiding mash and pumpkin pie then you may well have got more than you bargained for.

A very seasonally-appropriate piece of research into turkey products, conducted by new startup company Clear Food, found that store-bought turkey birds have on average 54 more calories and 5.5 more grams of fat per 100g than what was on the label.

The Silicon Valley-based enterprise uses genomic technology to analyze food at a molecular level, revealing accurate nutrition and ingredient information. This technology is more useful than potentially making you feel a bit guilty for over-indulging this festive season, as it can also reveal hidden allergens and microbes.

In their turkey study, Clear Food found that 13% of 160 turkey-related products had ’problematic’ elements. This can include wayward ingredients like meat from other animals, or hygiene concerns such as the presence of human DNA in the food (likely to be skin, hair or nails). One unnamed product didn’t even contain any turkey – at all.

Interestingly, price didn’t always correlate with quality and some of the cheapest brands had the clearest record.

Clear Food aim to empower consumers to make informed eating decisions. Although it is not widely available for public use yet, the founders envision that this technology will one day be readily available for consumers to test store bought products themselves.

Don’t despair, you don’t have to abandon turkey sausages or turkey meat subs quite yet. Clear Food have provided a list of ‘clear’ products on their website for you to gobble up (get it?) to your heart’s content.

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