• Funded by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), University of Guelph researchers have conducted the first-ever Canadian study examining sausage mislabeling. The study examined 100 sausages that were labeled as containing just one ingredient — beef, pork, chicken or turkey.
  • Published on July 31, 2017 in Food Control, the study found cross-species contamination of meat ingredients in 20 percent of sausage samples from grocery stores across the country. Highlights of the study include:
    • The predominant meat species were determined in sausage samples using DNA barcoding.
    • Five turkey sausage samples contained chicken as the predominant species.
    • Contaminant meat species were detected using digital droplet PCR.
    • Undeclared species were detected in beef (6%), chicken (25%), and pork (5%) sausages.
    • Real-time PCR assay revealed that one pork sample contained horse meat.
  • CFIA states that the goal of the study was to explore whether CFIA might be able to employ scientific methods employed by the researchers – such as DNA barcoding and real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) assays – in its regulatory practices as it concerns product mislabeling. CFIA says that the scientific tools show promising results. It remains to be seen whether these findings will prompt CFIA to launch a broader study of this issue and, ultimately, whether the CFIA will consider regulatory measures that incorporate such testing to assure that food product labels are truthful and not misleading.