The nationwide health scare topic sweeping America and dozens of foreign developed countries is the concern about a common food adhesive used by the meat industry, called “meat glue,” or more technically labeled, Transglutaminase or Thrombian.
According to the Food and Drug Administration’s website, Transglutaminase is classified as a GRAS product (generally recognized as safe). Produced as Activa by Japan’s Ajinomoto Company, the scientific name is “transglutaminase” and belongs to the family of clotting enzymes.
Made from cow and pig blood, this coagulant comes as a fine, tasteless powder that looks like icing sugar and is it makes meat and other proteins stick together like super glue. It is extremely toxic to inhale when mixing with the meat during fusion process. When sprinkled on a protein, such as beef, it forms cross-linked, insoluble protein polymers that essentially acts like super-glue, binding the pieces together with near invisible seams. The glue-covered meat is rolled up in plastic film, followed by refrigeration. Some manufacturers have gotten so proficient in the practice that even expert butchers cannot tell the difference between a piece of prime beef and one that has been glued together with bits and pieces of unusable scraps!
Chances are if you are not a diehard vegetarian, you are eating it regularly!
Food producers use the undetectable meat glue to piece together small , typically unsellable scraps of meat into a seamless full meat cut and not only sell more of the product at a premium price, but do so while lowering the quality of meat customers consume. Because meat glue is not part of the original formulation of meat, it is not required to be labeled by manufactures. The real danger of Transglutaminase, or Thrombian should be evaluated from a micro biotic standpoint. When multiple pieces are mashed together, bacteria have a better chance of growth. The outside of an animal’s meat cooks differently than the inside. The bacterial contamination of meat glued steak is hundreds of times higher than a solid piece of steak! Hence, if you cook your steak rare, which is the healthiest way to cook your meat (and one of the most popular way to order it), you are at a much greater risk of contracting food poisoning. Additionally, when an outbreak does occur, it is difficult, if not impossible, to discern the source of the contamination, as chunks of meat from multiple cows have now been combined.
Food poisoning is a serious problem in the US. According to US Center for Disease and Control estimates, anywhere between 6 to 81 million Americans contract food borne illnesses each year and food poisoning claims up to 9,000 lives annually. Considering the fact that our current food system encourages pathogens and contaminations of all kinds, it's not all that surprising that as many as one in four people get sickened each year. If there is a bacteria outbreak, it is much harder to figure out the source when chunks of meat from multiple cows were combined. Sadly, this widely misleading practice of using meat glue has allowed the food industry to treat all sorts of proteins like meat and fish as just another material to be processed, and has become a way to deceivingly manipulate food at the expense of the consumer’s health.
Yet another innovation is “modified atmosphere packaging”, the widespread practice of filling meat packaging with adjusted levels of oxygen and other gases. The gases can keep meat from losing its fresh-looking red hue. This technique is extremely dangerous because it may prevent shoppers from seeing when meat has gone bad and is again, misleading to customers. Not only that, eating meats and animal by products is known to be very inflammatory to the human body.
Invariably, industry justifies use of these so called meat glues because they are used only during processing and resist declaring it in the label obviously maintaining that it is not a part of the formulation of the product. While technically they are correct, the fact still remains that the so called processing aid stays right there in the final product, which certainly requires declaration for the information of the consumer.
Meat glue is also used in pork, ham, lamb, fish products such as fish balls, chicken, imitation crab, meat, and processed meats. If the idea of fish slurry or chicken puree glued together with an enzyme isn’t appealing to you, use it as motivation to learn more about where your food comes from. Try shopping from farmer’s markets more, so that you know who has grown your vegetables, or raised your meat if you eat it. Although between the chemicals, pollutants, cruelty and maybe reconsider what it means to eat meat at all. Perhaps decide to make the switch to organic, grass-fed beef from a local farm instead of the mass-produced variety from your local supermarket.