Skip to main content

Watch out for Meat Glue!

Is it a steak? Or some sort of meat collage?

That's right, you heard correctly here... there's actually a glue that is used to bind small pieces of meat together to form larger faux-cuts of steak and the like.  This video from an Australian news program tells a little bit more about it.

Basically, meat glue is a substance made from Transglutaminase, an enzyme that clots blood in various animals.  It has a binding property that pulls blood particles ( or meat particles) together, creating a strong bond between the particles.

The substance is being used commercially in the US (and Australia, as the video shows) to allow meat producers to bind smaller pieces of meat into larger "cuts."  However, it is illegal in the European Union.

And why is that?  After all, the FDA uses a study done by the product's creator, Ajinomoto, to show that the product is safe for use.  And despite the fact that users of the product wear masks to avoid inhaling it while treating meat (to avoid getting blood clotters into their lungs, I suppose), there haven't yet been any studies to show that meat glue itself is harmful.

The problem comes from the meat itself.  Picture a steak - one that hasn't been glued together.  Any bacteria on the steak would be on the outside surface of the steak, where high heat from cooking can kill it off before it hurts the consumer.  But with a steak made with smaller bits of meat and meat glue, some of those bacteria are being pushed into the center of the cut, as surfaces that were formerly exposed are no longer so.  Any bacteria that would have been destroyed by the heat might not be if the steak is cooked any less than extraordinarily well done.  So a perfectly healthy way to cook meat suddenly becomes much less so - hence the EU's reluctance to allow meat glue's use.

And as the video shows, it's very hard to tell the difference between a glued steak and a real steak, especially after it's cooked - making it a prime product for use by restaurants where you rarely see the meat in its raw form.

Some restaurants have made "special" cuts of meat such as "pasta" made from bound-together pieces of shrimp, or bits of elk, llama, and yak to make "exotic meat filets."

For the time being, it all comes down to cooking time - making sure that the bacteria are killed throughout your sirloin instead of just on the outside.  The other option would be to ask if meat glue is used by a restaurant, butcher, or grocer before purchasing their wares.  Of course, the better option all together is to buy your meat from farms you trust and that do not use such substances.

Another thing for us to watch out for when looking for the best meat for our Paleo lifestyles!


Popular posts from this blog

Caffeine and Cortisol - a 30-Day Experiment

No Caffeine for Me! Today, I began upon a 30-day experiment to reduce my cortisol levels by removing coffee from my diet. The goal is to see how it might be affecting my cognitive function and my belly fat. Cortisol is a hormone that is related to stress .  At a very basic level, cortisol is created as a response to stressors in our environment.  Back when we were still chucking spears at deer and chasing down antelope, cortisol was helping to preserve our lives by giving us quick energy by signalling to our livers that it was time to engage in a process known as gluconeogenesis. This process is basically the breakdown of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, into glucose - one of the two monosaccharides (the healthy one) that our bodies use for fuel. Picture this - you're walking across the street, enjoying the day, when suddenly some inattentive driver tries to turn and doesn't see you.  Your heart rate speeds up, and you get a little burst of speed to quickly sprint o

More on Journaling: So many tools...

Journaling was long a habit that I wanted to pick up but just never did.  And it was never because I didn't believe in its worth, it was that I just never built the habit or found the proper method that worked best for me.  I'd start it for a while, be enthusiastic about it, and then lose the habit when something else came up and interrupted me.   That's all changed for me now, as I look forward each morning and night to journaling in my newest tool I've found.  But that search has clued me in to a ton of great journaling tools that might help you as you're looking for that great push to get you into the journaling habit!   The Five-Minute-Journal:    This is obviously   the one I've adopted .  It's simple, it's quick, and it does the trick.  I won't expand into stuff I've already talked about with this in the two posts I've done on this fantastic tool.  But let's talk about some of the other aspects of the Five-Minute Journal.

Ditching the Chair Update: Lack of Use Raises Its Head

I'm just starting day three of my standing desk experiment and so far I really like it - though a couple of challenges are showing up. As you may recall, I pulled one of my cubicle cupboards off the wall a couple days ago and am using it as a standing desk platform.  It's wide, deep enough, and more than sturdy enough for the limited use I put it through up there.  Also, I keep all that storage.  So win-win-win.  I'm fortunate that it's at exactly the right height for my purpose.   So here's how it's developed over the past couple of days.  My monitors are set apart about 16 inches and that's nice because it gets my neck moving back and forth more.  I was having some issues with my neck/back between my shoulder blades being tight and causing me headaches, and that has gone away.  I think that having my attention locked onto one place all day was not helping there, and setting them apart more has made me move it more.  Granted, I tend to lose my mou