Home » FDA, Food Toxins, Future of Food

Industry-Wide Use of Meat Glue Sticks Together Scraps of Meat To Sell You Prime Cuts

Submitted by on March 29, 2011 – 6:30 pm45 Comments

Did you know your meats contain meat glue? Just one more way food producers can sell more, while lowering the quality of what you consume. If it’s so harmless and miraculous, why didn’t we know about it before? It’s not on labels because technically it is not part of formulation of the product. That’s a giant stretch. It is not harmless…and yes, you are actually ingesting it all the time!

It creates a type of franken-meat in that it allows butchers to use the undetectable glue to piece together scraps of meat into a seamless full meat cut. England banned use of Thrombin coagulant last year. They found it mislead consumers to think they are getting a prime cut for their money, and also the original glue was made from cow and pig blood, something they didn’t think was wise in restaurant meats.

When multiple pieces are globbed together, bacteria have a better chance of growth. “If there is a bacteria outbreak, it’s much harder to figure out the source when chunks of meat from multiple cows were combined,” said Keith Warriner who teaches food science at University of Guelph.

The EU recently brought back the use of the new glue, Thrombian, or Transglutaminase, right along with Australia, Canada and the US. The FDA, of course, deems it GRAS (generally recognized as safe). The meat preparers in the video below need to wear masks when using it because, “It’s dangerous s—.”

It’s hush-hush because meat preparers are afraid to lose their suppliers and customers.  The next time you buy natural and organic meat, it wouldn’t hurt to ask about its use.

~Health Freedoms

Meat Glue: It sounds utterly repellent; like some pre-industrial, rustic adhesive, but it’s actually a fine, tasteless powder that looks like icing sugar and is it makes meat and other proteins stick together like super glue. If your eating meat, chances are you’re eating or have eaten the glue at some point.

This sort of thing has been a boon to the food industry, which can now treat all sorts of proteins like meat or fish as just another material to be processed, but in the hands of molecular gastronomists it’s become a way to manipulate food in a way that would have been previously impossible. It’s possible, for example, to make tenderloin rolls wrapped in bacon that hold together perfectly without the need for twine or toothpicks. So what kind of glue is it exactly?

Produced as Activa by Japan’s Ajinomoto Company, it’s scientific name is “transglutaminase” and it belongs to the family of clotting enzymes which are eight in number.

Thrombin is a coagulation protein which together with the fibrous protein fibrin can be used to develop a “meat glue” enzyme that can be used for sticking together different pieces of meat. It can be made from blood taken from either cows or pigs.

Less than a year ago, the European Parliament had voted to ban bovine and porcine thrombin. The House said the meat glue has no proven benefit for consumers and might mislead them instead.

The Parliament estimated that there is “a clear risk that meat containing thrombin would find its way into meat products served in restaurants or other public establishments serving food, given the higher prices that can be obtained for pieces of meat served as a single meat product”.

But two weeks ago, all but one of the European Union nations voted in favor of using Thrombian, or Transglutaminase (TG). They now join other developed nations such as the U.S., Canada, and Australia who approved the product.

The Swedish government’s recent approval of the use of Thrombian prompted the Swedish Consumers’ Association and politicians to join together to criticize this approval.  “We do not want this at all–it is meat make-up,” Jan Bertoft of the Association told IceNews, a daily Icelandic newspaper.

“The problem is that Thrombian-enhanced products look like real meat.  It is the dishonesty in it that makes us think that it is not okay,” said Bertoft.  For example, pork tenderloin can have numerous small parts fused together to produce what will appear to be a full fillet.

According to blog, Cooking Issues, Meat Glue is commonly used all the time, primarily to:

• Make uniform portions that cook evenly, look good, and reduce waste

• Bind meat mixtures like sausages without casings

• Make novel meat combinations like lamb and scallops

According to the Food and Drug Administration’s website, Transglutaminase is classified as a GRAS product (generally recognized as safe).

Health Canada approved the product. However, the glue also raises food-safety issues, says Keith Warriner, an associate professor of food science at the University of Guelph, in a phone interview from his office. If there is a bacteria outbreak, it’s much harder to figure out the source when chunks of meat from multiple cows were combined.

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. Shiv Chopra, an Ottawa food-safety expert and retired Health Canada scientist, said in an e-mail that the technique is “dangerous” because it may prevent shoppers from seeing when meat has gone bad. UBC’s Allen agreed: “This can be misleading to consumers.”

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.

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.

Sources:
euractiv.com
thelocal.se
discovery.com
fairwhistleblower.ca
vhpotty.blogspot.com
examiner.com

http://www.ajinomoto.com/

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/12/farm-camp-teaches-nyc-chefs-where-their-food-comes-from.php

http://preventdisease.com/news/11/032211_meatglue.shtml

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45 Comments »

  • deenie says:

    Sounds totally atrocious but something our “leaders” would allow here in the U$A. I am so glad I gave up all meat over ten years ago. When you add up all the negatives associated with meat: hormones, mad cow prions, GE feed, shot up with antibiotics, downers dragged in for slaughter, no testing for mad cow prions, cloning, excrement and assorted animal parts in the feed, and the total cruelty foisted on these poor animals, I have no appetite for it at all. I eat sardines a few times a month, and some local free range eggs and raw milk. Everything else is organic produce from the market with a whole lot of juicing. My daughter recently switched to vegetarian and reports that she feels lighter and stronger than ever.

  • Trace Farley says:

    I’m surprised to hear about this. But, to recommend not eating meat at all is a little extreme. I was vegan for 5 years and it was a terrible experience and don’t recommend it. It ruined my health. I’ve also met many others who have had the same experience. That would be like telling people not to eat fruits and veggies because most of them are sprayed. Ridiculous.
    Trace

  • Joanne Irwin says:

    Another reason to eat beans, greens, fruits and grains. The video was eye opening, alarming, but not surprising. The corporatocracy’s main goal is profit. Sadly a great majority believe the common man is expendable. What ever happened to the greater good? This video needs to be shared and passed along. The good news is that a paradign shift is taking place across the country, and people are becoming educated on these topics, and many are taking charge of their health. Thanks for all the work you do in bringing these horrors to the public’s attention!
    Joanne Irwin, M.Ed.
    Plant Based Culinary Educator

  • laurie says:

    Are they purposely trying to give us another reason not to eat meat? Who finds out these things anyway? And, why are normal, intelligent people who work in the meat factories going along with it? Well, I was done with red meat a long time ago.

  • This shouldn’t be allowed! We can’t trust our food supply.

  • Richard Opp says:

    It makes me EVER so thankful that I am a VEGETARIAN!!

  • Michael says:

    Thanks for this info… one slightly misleading statement in your article though: I was disgusted that a natural food company would ‘shamelessly’ use the product, but after watching the video, I realized that this is not accurate. The video states clearly that this company is dedicated to eliminating additives in food production… the company rep is participating in the story to demonstrate how OTHERS in the industry use the product to mislead consumers. I think you should fix your article.

  • Randi says:

    I’m so glad I gave up meat some time ago. I’ll stick with the my vegetarian diet of snacks and soft drinks because it makes me feel better.

  • Barbara says:

    When any industry does something that will benefit “The People”, and not profits, it will be a day to be remembered for all time.

    What we need to do, (just one of many) is either get rid of the subsidies to agri business and industrial farms to level the playing field for organic farming OR give organic and sustainable farmers subsidies so they can compete.
    Until we take that power away from big business our quality of ANYTHING will be in jeopardy.

    To answer on person’s questions about why anyone goes along with this… it’s called job security. Do you know how many people can be ruined for “letting the cat out of the bag” so to speak. IT is the same with doctors who can cure cancer they get arrested, their files and offices confiscated…. their lives are ruined.
    Speaking truth to power in this culture today is very dangerous.

  • Deb says:

    Again the point is why are they putting this toxic crap in the meat. Not to give up meat! I find I cannot eat just a vegan diet either. That’s an extreme attitude. I agree w/Tracy. Not all will do well on veggies & fruit. Some may need more protein. That’s not the point of this article.

  • Lori says:

    this is just about red meat – those of you who are so pleased you ‘gave up red meat’ …this is used with poultry and fish as well … we eat alot of wild harvested meat, which we harvest ourselves …I am so grateful we have the ability to that

  • Henny says:

    Protein is in everything you eat and doesn’t have to come from animals or animal products.

  • Linda says:

    oh, those poor sardines!

  • Tim says:

    I have read enough about my health to know that I have to eat animal fat to be healthy. I will pursue the natural beef, chicken, pork and wild caught fish. I have a relative who died from the results of being on a Vegan diet. You have to eat animal fat, look it up.

  • Puller says:

    I wonder if the Thrombin used in this type of meat production contributes to strokes in humans?

  • Carolina says:

    So you eggs from free range chickens who run around eating each others droppings and you are not worried about bacteria! You drink raw milk which is totally unsafe.

  • TheDago says:

    While this might be a noble concept, when it comes down to the numbers, organic farming isn’t sustainable. Without using technology to increase crop yields, millions on the planet would starve.

  • FrequentGriller says:

    I completely disagree with the idea of using ‘meat glue’ without advisory due to the microbial aspect which, by my understanding, makes it as risky to eat a medium rare steak as it is to eat a medium rare hamburger.

    What I disagree with more, however, is your use of the statement “If the idea of fish slurry or chicken puree glued together with an enzyme isn’t appealing to you…” That statement has no factual backing or true basis. Meat glue isn’t used to turn chicken puree into wholly formed breast meat. It’s used to turn the four 1/4 pound pieces of leftover filet back into a size more sale-friendly size. If you want people to view your blog as more than ultra-biased hippy ranting, avoid the hyperbole in the future.

  • Lois Rain says:

    Sir, that is coming from the source article. And, how do you know fish slurry or chicken puree doesn’t invite the use of meat glue? The Cooking Issues blog referenced in the article describes the glue’s use to bind meat mixtures like sausages without casings.

  • FrequentGriller says:

    I know that’s not the case because I’ve seen multiple videos containing sample footage of the end product, and that’s just not how it works. If you look at a piece of meat joined with this product, even after it’s been cooked, you can normally see a big difference in the grain of the meat where the two pieces are joined. Also, if the meat is raw and you apply a decent amount of pressure at the seam where the two pieces meat (nyuk nyuk), the binding will fail and the pieces will separate. If you were eating a steak, chicken breast, or fish fillet that was made out of joined slurry or reconstituted ground beef, it would be immediately noticeable. If you were handling it raw, any pressure at one of the many seams would cause it to fall apart.

    As for sausage, I don’t really care about that one. My only issue is with consuming uncooked meat that’s had exposure to air (and thus, potentially gut wrenching bacteria). Any sausage I eat is always cooked all the way through, meaning this isn’t an issue for me. The meat glue is GRAS by FDA standards, so if it’s used to make it so you can have sausage without the casing, I’m ok with that. I think it ought to be on the label so that people who aren’t ok with it can skip it, but I think it’d be pretty obvious that if you’re eating sausage that had no way of keeping it formed as it was cooked, it had to have had have some kind of glue to give it form. Plus, my wife and I hand grind, season, stuff, and smoke a 15 pound batch of sausage once every few months, so we haven’t had the store bought stuff in ages anyway ;)

    I apologize if my tone was harsh in my previous comment, but the moment I read that sentence, my internet inspired bias meter went from “partially biased due to website name” to “incredibly biased; forget the grain, we need to take this post with a whole cup of salt.” You took a good article that was based in fact and strayed from there into fear mongering, fantasy based conjecture with a single sentence. I hope you can view this for the constructive criticism it is and not the vitriol spewing trolling that you might like it to be.

  • Sharon says:

    THIS IS JUST ANOTHER REASON I STOPPED EATING MEAT OVER 30YRS AGO!!!!!!!!!! People you guys really need to wake up to why Americans health is consistently declining! MAD COW???? No MAD MEN RUNNING CORPORATE AMERICA!

  • Colette says:

    What about peope on anticoagulant therapy. Seems dangerous.

  • Joey says:

    Trace..

    Veganism didn’t ruin your health, you did. You most likely ate unhealthily thinking that without meat, you could eat whatever. Don’t try to give veganism a bad rap because you did it wrong.

  • linda says:

    Knowledge is power. Let us use this power and the power of our pocketbook to demand that we do not want frankenfoods. Haven’t you noticed what is happening to our food supply, it is constantly being subjected to chemicals with no long term studies on the effects upon the human body. What is going to happen to our children and our children’s children?

    The food industry, the government, the pharmaceutical industry, the financial industry; they have all lost credibility, time we start making our voices heard.

  • Steve says:

    Actually if we stopped feeding most of our grain to animals so we can eat them and simply grow grain for human consumption we would have plenty of food. I think I remember a study that showed that the US alone could feed the world if everyone became vegetarian. Another benefit of going all vegeterian is that it would virtually eliminate most of the major diseases in western culture including heart disease, hypertension, and maybe even cancer. Of course that will never happen so we have to put all sorts of poisons into our food supply so we don’t starve on our ridiculously unhealthy diet.

  • Weener says:

    And here I sit paranoidly convinced, even more so, that the overall effort is not just the highest profit possible but also, and actually VERY ALSO, to have as many people as possible die at earlier ages. There have been high level NGO meetings/discussions of indirect and controllable methods which could slow population growth and at best reduce “population density” more rapidly. Ahh, better living through chemistry, technology and science. Errrr uhh I guess I should say better dying through technology, science, et al.

  • dangerbird9 says:

    “So you eggs…” This is a humorous and unsubstantiated opinion.

  • Juliet says:

    While I agree that ‘slurry’ is a stretch, those chunks in chicken nuggets are far less than 1/4 lb…

  • BIG FAT says:

    thats nasty foo dont put that crP IN MY MEAT CAUSE I LIKE MEAT DUMMYS

  • TheMick says:

    Is that so? Please site your source. Or do you not have one? Are you just pulling that out of your buttocks??

  • louxiong says:

    Dear friends and readers,

    I am Mr. Louxiong SIAKOR, I now living and working in Lao PDR, I am doing a research about Gluing industry ( Making Glue or Making Adhesive). And I need more information about glue to be my reference, but I do not know where can I have it…. So, Could you please give me some ways to reach it or if you know any people ho has professional on Making glue, tell me please. And My address detail is siakorx@gmail.com

    Sincerely yours,

    Louxiong.

  • Meatboy says:

    Really? Sweet! I guess all those stupid Vegans will be dead soon LOL…

  • HobartStinson says:

    On a related topic: Isn’t it interesting that people protest vehemently against scientists performing “genetic engineering” on our food supply, yet openly welcome the genetic engineering of human beings because it has the palatable name, “stem cell research”?

  • Mary says:

    I have been very upset ever since I read about the use of this stuff and cannot find any clear information as to whether the use of it must be labeled. I personally do not have a problem with eating meat IF it has been properly bled. I will not knowingly eat anything that MAY have been produced using blood products so I guess I will only be eating vegetarian items if I must eat out.

  • tamugrad says:

    I guess it’s just an accident that the average life span keeps increasing. How could that be?

  • Ashton Butcher says:

    Do not be upset. Just stay away from chicken nuggets and other processed meats. Fast food meats and luncheon meats are the worst. “Blood products” does not sound appetizing, however products made from blood are often quite safe and nutritious. Have you heard of blood sausage? A staple in the UK and very safe. Quite tasty too! Try not to let the “emotion” overcome reason.

  • Linda says:

    Steve, you are 100% correct in all your statements. This is backed up by the government report entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow”.

  • LInda says:

    This is in reply to Steve’s comment. It would not let me put the reply directly below his.

    Steve is 100% correct about feeding grain to livestock versus eating the grain ourselves, both withe what he said about health and the environment. Read “Livestock’s Long Shadow”, a government report that verifies this.

  • Andrea Hardy says:

    Don’t forget about nuts! They are tasty and nutritious. The best “hamburger” I ever ate was meatless (at a Seven Day Adventist Hospital cafeteria. That was over 50 years ago and I still remember the experience.

  • meatman says:

    i have worked in the meat industry in canada for over 25 yrs.this sounds like science fiction to me.never seen it and i would never do it

  • [...] processed virgin wood pulp, not actually digestible as we lack the appropriate enzymes. Like meat glue, it is another type of food filler to reduce costs, but also reduces nutrition and quality. The [...]

  • XfacX says:

    1 reason only:

    money…

    the thing that will someday spill our doom

  • Joe Sixpack says:

    My god, Im not sure which I object to more gluing hunks of meat together like a jigsaw or the fact that they aren’t required to and DON’T inform the customer.

    Lucky (I guess) Im poor and rarely eat steak, It’s hamburger and hog dogs for me and I kinda know hat im getting with that at least.

    This is right up there with the cheap fish substitution I heard about where they use a cheaper fish and sell it as something else.

    Pretty bad we live in a world where we have what I would call counterfeit food.

    Makes me wanna go vegetarian :(

  • WILLOBIE says:

    Between the prevalence of “pumped” beef and pork and the glued together cuts, one can only shop at a butcher one trusts or consume meat from ethical producers like MBA Smart Chicken or Beeler Hog Wild pork products. Placing outside cuts inside a steak is particularly dangerous when one relies on broiling heat to kill surface bacteria. If surface meat is everywhere, only pot roast is safe!

    I buy only meat cut from prime cuts (not prime grade) and slice my own steaks, grind my own burger and sausage meat. I’m pretty sure I can trust my meat butcher not to sell me a glued together whole rib-eye roast or store cured whole corned beef brisket. I’ll start checking my chuck roast more carefully before cutting it up for grinding or stewing.

    Between fish counterfeiting and beef gluing, I will definitely be more careful with my choices for dining out. My last restaurant meal with lightly seared sushi-grade tuna. I think it was only one piece.

  • Donato Thomas says:

    I always wondered how they made that canned ham stick together. I knew it had to be multiple cuts made into that one big chunk, but just couldn’t figure it out. One more of life’s many questions answered!

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