RSSWhat is in a fast food hamburger?

Posted on Mon, 18 Jun 12

What is in a fast food hamburger?

You might assume that a hamburger patty is made of pure meat, but an analysis of what is really in a burger might surprise you.

A study entitled “Fast food hamburgers: what are we really eating?” assessed the content of 8 American fast food hamburgers and this is some of their findings:

  • Meat content in the hamburgers ranged from 2.1% to 14.8%.

  • Water content by weight ranged from 37.7% to 62.4%.

  • A variety of tissue types besides skeletal muscle were observed including connective tissue, blood vessels, peripheral nerve, adipose tissue, plant material, cartilage, and bone.

  • In 2 hamburgers, intracellular parasites (Sarcocystis) were identified.

In summary it appears fast food burgers are mostly water and contain an average of 12.1% meat, not very much. Also they may contain some unexpected bone, cartilage, and plant material and in some cases parasites.


Prayson B, McMahon JT, Prayson RA. Fast food hamburgers: what are we really eating? Ann Diagn Pathol. 2008 Dec;12(6):406-9.

Tags: Fast Food, Take Away Food, Hamburger, Meat

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