This food quality startup ruined Thanksgiving by analyzing turkey products

There are many ways for tech companies to ruin Thanksgiving dinner. Facebook could send a push notification to all your relatives to remind them about petty arguments had over the last year. Apple could release a novelty ringtone no-one but your creepy uncle will enjoy. Someone might ask you to explain Snapchat.
Or they could just analyze the brands of turkey available in grocery stores. What better to celebrate a holiday marked by the copious amounts of bearded avians that make their way onto dinner tables around the country than with a report detailing all the contaminants, substitutions, and lies associated with the birds?
Clear Labs went ahead and did just that. A little more than a month after the company released its first food report, which analyzed hot dogs and found that a greater than zero percentage were problematic in some way, the company has used its food analytics tools to examine the turkeys that will be served Thursday.
Lingering questions about the veracity of the hot dog report aside, the turkey report contains some damning information about the not-so-little gobblers on which many of us will gorge this week. Clear Labs said 7 percent of the turkey products it tested contained other meats; 5.5 percent had human DNA; and a total of 13.5 percent of the 158 turkey products it tested were “problematic.”
These issues led Clear Labs to recommend several brands of turkey products, from the “Safeway Frozen Young Turkey” to the Jennie-O turkey burgers, as well as naming the best retailers from which people can buy non-problematic turkey. (Those retailers are, perhaps unsurprisingly, Target, Walmart, and Safeway.) Of course, for all the procrastinating amateur chefs out there, Clear Labs might have saved them from purchasing a turkey from a less reputable brand. One person’s ruined holiday is another person’s last-minute stomach saver.
Here’s how I explained Clear Labs’ food reports in an earlier piece:

For each report Clear Labs needs to buy foods, catalog them, run it through a series of tests, then analyze the results against its own database and several public domain databases it uses to inform its findings. When all this is done the company will assign different brands a Clear Score ranging from zero to 100, which is supposed to indicate the accuracy of the brand’s labeling in terms of ingredients, nutrients, and other information.

At the time, Clear Labs debuted on Kickstarter to support more food reports. It was seeking $100,000 for 10 reports that cost roughly $10,000 a piece to create. That campaign was unsuccessful: The company raised roughly $86,900 via the campaign, and because it was held on Kickstarter, it won’t get any of that money.
Clear Labs isn’t the only company scrutinizing Thanksgiving. Google also published a report on what people are searching for before the holiday. Most want to know about Thanksgiving’s past or who’s playing on that day. Others look for stuffing recipes, and or how to cook a delicious bird.
That said, if you share Clear Labs report with your family you can have the benefit of grossing them out before they Google it on their own. And you know what that means: Not having to share* the remaining turkey. You’re welcome.
*OK, maybe there’s two ways Clear Labs is making your Thanksgiving better.

It’s going to be a very mobile Christmas for Braintree

Payments processor Braintree is seeing a huge year-over-year jump in mobile payments this holiday season. According to CEO Bill Ready we’re witnessing the pent-up demand from consumers to use their phones as shopping tools.

Cyber Monday: By the numbers (from IBM)

http://www-01.ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions/benchmark-reports/cyber-monday-2013.html

It was a spectacular Cyber Monday! And it was the biggest online shopping day in history according to IBM (s IBM), which tracks online retail via its Digital Analytics service. There was a 20.6 percent increase in online sales, with the biggest boost coming from mobile,which accounted for over 17 percent of total online sales, up 55.4 percent from 2012. Mobile traffic was 31.7 percent of all online traffic, up 45 percent over 2012. The five-day online sales period – from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday — was the highest ever in terms of spending. It was 16.5 percent over the same period in 2012. IBM didn’t share actual dollar figures on amount of money spent.

bythenumbersShopping

Is Verizon turning 3G into a prepaid-only service?

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7 stories to read this weekend

Reporting in Mexico is a tough job that can get you killed. In Hollywood, you don’t know who is reading your email. And why do indie musicians hate Pandora and Spotify? These and more stories are on my recommended list of stories to read this weekend.

3 apps to help you avoid a Thanksgiving dinner disaster

Your mobile phone or tablet can’t cook your Thanksgiving meal for you, but they can definitely get you out a jam if you cook yourself into a corner. Here are three apps that will make the ordeal of Thanksgiving dinner easier.