According to a recent report, some patties from well-known chains contain as little as 2 per cent meat – in some cases, a half-pound burger contains less than 5g of actual meat.
Researchers from the Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, made the discovery after testing hamburgers being sold by eight unspecified fast food companies.
The research, published in the journal Annals of Diagnostic Pathology, found that meat content in the hamburgers tested ranged from 2.1 per cent to 14.8 per cent, with an average of 12.1 per cent.
While those who eat them may feel short-changed about the tiny fraction of actual meat they contain – and a bit queasy about what exactly constitutes the other 98 per cent of their burgers – the research is good news for the environment.
As many as 5 billion hamburger patties are eaten every year in the US alone. If they all contained 100 per cent meat the cost to the planet in terms of harmful gases and pollution from the raising of livestock, as well as the agricultural land use to grow feed for cows rather than people, would be astronomical.
The rest of the hamburger is made up mostly of water (average 49 per cent), muscle, blood vessels, nerves, fat, cartilage and bone. Ammonia and potentially harmful bacteria was also found in some.
If that sounds like the most unappealing thing you’ve ever heard, then why not try making your own healthy meat-free burger using one of our recipes. It’s good to know exactly what it’s in them!