…Now ‘Meat Glue’! Yesterday a vegetarian friend sent me a news video describing the use of ‘Meat Glue’ in Australia. Seems the practice is legal in the USA as reported in the LA Times and other news outlets almost a year ago. However, the use of ‘Meat Glue’ is banned in the European Union (EU) due to concerns of fraudulent marketing and sale of scrap or chunk meat as whole steaks or fillets and the potential of bacteria growth within the glued pieces that may not be fully cooked. For a better description of the EU perspective you can check out ‘Food Safety Alert: The Problem With Meat Glue‘.
Meat Glue is technically called thrombian, or transglutaminase (TG). It is an enzyme produced from the blood of pigs and cows. From what I’m reading the general use of the product is to produce ‘whole’ steaks like tenderloin but imitation crab meat, chicken nuggets and skinless sausages or hotdogs often use the glue as well. I just looked on a couple of packages in my fridge of imitation crab and lobster meat also known as surimi but thrombian is not listed. What seems to be the binder is tapioca and pea starch. Glue is probably not used in the packages I have because the product is also exported and sold in EU countries.
For me the issue of meat glue is the potential selling of products as something it is not and paying a great deal more for it. Plus, I generally like my steaks, that I eat very infrequently, to be rare so the chance of the microbes being killed are reduced should I get a glued steak.
Bottom line is that knowing about this meat glue like arsenic in rice and pink slime is important in your attempt to eat healthy. Getting closer to the food source, knowing how things are grown/produced and purchasing whole and fresh tends to be the best protection against food industry gimmicks. Learning how to make your own chicken nuggets from whole chicken breasts is not difficult (see All Recipes.com), takes 40 minutes and it will certainly spare you the ingestion of dozens of chemicals. It is also a great family activity!