02/11/2013 05:56 EST | Updated 04/13/2013 05:12 EDT

Horsemeat Burgers: Canada Safe From Scare, According To Tests

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GUELPH, Ont. - Popular fast food and frozen hamburgers being sold in Canada do not contain horsemeat, according to testing of a dozen different types of burgers by Ontario researchers.

Following reports that horsemeat was found in some frozen meat products in Europe, the University of Guelph-based Biodiversity Institute of Ontario used advanced DNA testing on a range of hamburgers sold in Canada and found they were 100 per cent beef.

The Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding at the institute tested six cooked burgers: A&W's Mama Burger, Burger King's Whopper, Dairy Queen's FlameThrower, Harvey's original burger, the McDonald's Big Mac, and Wendy's Bacon Double Cheeseburger.

The uncooked frozen hamburger patties tested included Beef Steakettes (Schneiders), Lick's Homeburgers, M&M Meat Shops Supreme Homestyle Beef Burgers, No Name Beef Burgers (Loblaws), Outlaw Beef Burgers (Schneiders), President's Choice Thick and Juicy Beef Burgers, and Webers Beef Burgers.

Fresh lean ground beef in a tube (Better Beef — Cargill) and Food Basics fresh lean ground beef were also tested.

The researchers used DNA barcoding, a molecular technique developed by U of G integrative biology professor Paul Hebert. It allows scientists to match small DNA sequences from unknown specimens to those derived from expert-identified reference specimens.

"This testing is something all Canadians should be proud of — knowing the hamburger meat they are buying is beef with no substitutes detected or additions," Hebert, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Biodiversity and director of the BIO, said in a release.

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