from a local farm instead of the mass-produced variety from your local supermarket, perhaps this news brief from the Australian Today Tonight show will help change your mind.
If you haven’t yet seen the video, please click here and be ready to be amazed.
By now most people probably realize that ground beef contains the meat from hundreds of animals from different parts of the world, but few would ever suspect that the same can be true for prime cut steaks! Well, that’s possible through the use of so-called meat glue, used to “super-glue” small chunks of meat together that are too small to sell, and passing it off as prime cuts…
What is Meat Glue?
Meat glue is an enzyme called transglutaminase. Some meat glues are produced through the cultivation of bacteria, while others are made from the blood plasma of pigs and cows, specifically the coagulant that makes blood clot.
When sprinkled on a protein, such as beef, it forms cross-linked, insoluble protein polymers that essentially acts like a 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 an expert butcher can’t tell the difference between a piece of prime beef and one that’s been glued together with bits and pieces of scraps!
Meat glue is also used for:
- Pork / Ham
- Fish Products such as fish balls
- Imitation crab meat
- Processed meats
Interestingly enough, Ajinomoto is one of the leaders in transglutaminase. You may recognize that name as they are also one of the leaders in aspartame. According to their website, transglutaminase is also used to “improve the general texture” of a variety of foods aside from meat, such as fat-free yogurt and cheese.
Meat Glue—Both Unethical and Potentially Dangerous
First, there’s the obvious issue of misleading consumers. Since food manufacturers are not required to disclose what they’ve done, you think you’re buying a prime cut when in fact you’re paying top dollar for glued-together bits and pieces that would otherwise have been discarded or sold for a fraction of the cost.
But aside from the fact that it’s a pure scam, there’s the increased possibility of contracting food poisoning from these meats.
According to the featured report, 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, you’re at a much greater risk of contracting food poisoning.
Additionally, when an outbreak does occur, it’s 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 CDC estimates, anywhere between 6 to 81 million Americans contract foodborne 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…