How Much Meat Glue Are You Eating?

April 15, 2011

Meat glue, or transglutaminase, is an enzyme that can be derived from bacteria, or from the blood plasma of cows and pigs. Used to turn scraps of meat into “prime” cuts, meat glue is misleading consumers both about what they’re buying, and what’s in their food. Here’s a video from Australia’s TodayTonight:

“Why do we have the masks on?” “Because it’s dangerous s—. See that? Don’t breathe that in.”

Although technically natural, the raw powder is not safe. Transglutaminase is the enzyme responsible for blood clotting, and high transglutaminase levels are a sign/symptoms of diseases like Huntington’s.

Found in meat from your butcher or local restaurant including beef, chicken, fish, pork, and lamb, meat glue is also used to create noodles, and enhance milk and yogurt.

How? Take scraps of meat, sprinkle transglutaminase (a powder) onto it, and roll it up with plastic. After it sits in the fridge overnight, even butchers can barely tell the difference between meat glued pieces and real cuts.

While avant-garde chefs and molecular gastronimists may find good use for transglutaminase, most of the time it’s use is sinister: selling consumers cheap meat scraps in place of prime steaks, and increasing the risk of stomach flu.

When meat scraps are combined, the actual surface area of the slice of meat (where bacteria is located) goes up exponentially, leaving the consumer unaware that there are colonies of unkilled bacteria festering in the middle of their “filet mignon”.

Banned by the EU, meat glue is widely used in the US and Australia. If you don’t want cow/pork in your fish, or just want to avoid food additives, here’s what you ca do about meat glue:

  • Demand stricter labelling laws/requirements, and reward restaurants and butchers that are honest and offer a selection of natural/organic meat.
  • Mexican grocers (who you can often see butchering meat behind the counter), and stores that sell meat scraps as stew pieces are probably safe places to shop.
  • Avoid processed foods (hotdogs, imitation crab), which have a good chance of containing meat glue.

What do you think of meat glue? Is it a way to create novel, avant-garde food, or just a way to rip off consumers? Should it be banned?

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  • rick

    just be sure it has a bone in it!!!! OR that you killed it or caught it yourself.

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  • http://www.subvertednation.net Mike

    This is because the prime motive for ALL BUSINESSES is money and profits, and they couldn’t care less who they hurt along the way.

    It’s quickly becoming obvious that we should go back to growing our own vegetables, and buying meat from a local market or local butcher that actually owns the store and lives down the road. I’ve had enough of the big stores selling inferior meat, chinese vegetables loaded with toxins and garbage food through the rest of the store that is based on sugar, fat, salt, gluten and fillers, MSG and fake sweeteners. Like someone said, if you have to read the label at all, you shouldn’t be eating it!

    We simply can no longer trust that they will do the right thing by us, and that goes for the governments as well. They are there to squeeze as much money out of people in their life times as possible, as they are owned by the crown and the city of london corporation.

    Ive looked at all this for over 8 years now and I can clearly see how the world operates, and everyones role in it, and its sickening! It cannot continue on this path for much longer, it’s going to snap, and THEY know it. THEY just want to make sure when it breaks, that they can fix it how they want(new world order), we must say NO and punish those responsible.

    Heck say NO to everything they try push on you….if you don’t, they will continue to push!

  • Emma Spera

    Mark,

    Thank you for the update regarding transglutamase’s legal status in the EU and Australia. I suppose the Australian video (posted) and other sources when meatglue first became an issue were (or are now) outdated.

    To be fair, the article doesn’t state the transglutamase itself is bad for you, so much that eating a “steak” made with transglutamase and cooked rare (or with any pink) could make someone VERY ill, since there’s bacteria on all those meat surfaces that have been rolled into one that wouldn’t be killed without cooking it through to brown.

    Sweatmeats and sausages, as I understand them, are cooked through, meaning bacteria from the combined meat-surfaces are reliable killed. People also know what they’re paying for, whereas someone paying $20+ for a steak and getting a frankenstein combination of meat scraps (worth less than $10) would probably be very upset to know they’d been cheated.

    I agree that I’m not sure “meat glue” should be banned, but I do feel strongly that it should be labelled. I have at least one person in my life who is relatively young, but with an immune system that overreacts to infections such as food poisoning. If she ate a medium rare steak made with meat glue, getting sick could kill her.

  • Mark

    “Banned by the EU, meat glue is widely used in the US and Australia….” HOGWASH!

    It would have been more correct to say “Having been banned by the EU and Australia, under orders now-rescinded since transglutaminase has been recognzed as “safe”….”

    It was banned, briefly, until either people found out it was actually “safe,” or until McNugget maufacturers and sellers poured enough money on the probloem to bring it back.

    Should it be banned? I don’t know. Should it be clearly labelled? Yes.

    I dunno… in a world where chalk-colored, canned “vienna sausages” are sold, where “sweetbreads” and “sweetmeats” are eaten, blood sausage and mammalian intestines and other offal are consumed happily by seemingly long-lived consumers, I can’t really bring myself to complain about something so trivial as a purified, extracted protein that’s NATURALLY in every piece of mammal to begin with.

  • Deb Fisher

    This is sick, it is no wonder why everyone is diagnosed with Cancer these days, even those still in the womb.

  • Marjorie Strickland

    My opinion is that much of our health problems are from the government allowing companies to alter our food. One example is GM grains such as corn, soybeans etc. and adding modified food starch in so many food products. We TRY to buy only certified organic food, shampoo, soap, cleaning supplies and stay away from regular bleached paper products and plastic. All of this stuff should be banned. Children will suffer as adults in so many ways healthwise if they keep eating and using such unhealthy stuff. And if it all cannot be banned then it should be label as altered in whatever way it is changed.

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