Monday, March 5, 2012

Why Are People So Upset About Meat Glue?

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Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

My meat contains what? Why didn't I know? More than likely, we have all consumed a substance known as Transglutaminase (TG) from delis and possibly restaurants.

Basically, a glue is used to piece together scraps of meat to sell as a whole cut. The glue lines are invisible to the naked eye.

Stories about glue in our meat are cropping up everywhere causing great dismay. If there was ever a time that people should shout "Franken" in front of "food," it is now. And literally -- as scraps from other parts of the animal or different animals are combined to create a seamless whole.

How It Works

Japan's Animoto Company produces the product as Activa. The TG or Thrombian is a coagulation protein. Together with a fibrous protein, fibrin, a glue enzyme is developed which permanently binds meat pieces together. This coagulant is created using blood from cows, pigs, sometimes chickens and apparently through fermentation of certain bacteria.

Watch how it works in the video below -- notice the masks and gloves?

Video update: it is no longer heavily banned in European or North American nations.

What started out as a way to cleverly secure different animal meats (like bacon wrapped tenderloins, or pasta made from shrimp) into a decorative array, could be one of the industry's most potentially overused and best-kept secrets.


Reasons Why So Many People Are Outraged

Low Quality Food -- Reassembling scraps is one more way food producers can sell more, while lowering the quality of what you consume. Meat glue is certainly a boon to various parts of the meat industry -- who wouldn't want to use pieces they normally throw away but can sell at premium prices? But, who wants to pay more for scraps?

Lifestyles -- Imagine trying to a live a Kosher lifestyle and finding out later you've unwittingly violated your most deeply held beliefs? Meat glue is not a part of the Paleo diet, although meat is. What about people who prefer their meat rare and medium-rare?

It is also implicated in the use of certain dairy products!

No labels -- What we don't know deserves to be seen. Meat glue is rarely if ever labeled because it is not considered part of the formulation of the product -- meat.

You might see it labeled on something like imitation crab as "meat composite product." But did you know it's a part of the process of other slurry type foods like chicken nuggets? That's what enables those funky dinosaur shapes.

Although it is considered a "processing aid," it is an ingredient that stays in the end product. When is a "processing aid" finally considered a food additive?

Within the last two years, the United States, along with Canada, Australia, and all but one of the European Union nations opted for its mass approval.

The US is not the only country to draw opponents: "We do not want this at all -- it is meat make-up," said Jan Bertoft at the Swedish Consumer's Association. A German minister called on its industries to be transparent and truthful, but failed to use authority to actually hold food producers accountable.

The FDA recognizes TG as GRAS (generally recognized as safe); another reason it does not have to be labeled or cautioned.

Safety Concerns -- In the last couple of years, we have witnessed a series of tragic foodborne illness outbreaks. When multiple pieces are globbed together, bacteria have a better chance for rapid growth, especially in the seams.

“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 meat creations are implicated as a threat for E. coli outbreaks.

It is nearly impossible to cook the meat thoroughly as a whole -- the parts of the seams do not cook evenly with the rest of the meat.

As Gaye Levy pointed out in her piece, the USDA recommends cooking glued meat to 165 degrees. How is anyone to know about handling it safely if they do not first know that they have it?

Is it safe for those with gluten intolerance? Is it possible people are already experiencing food allergies but don't know the cause?

As you could see from the video above -- it is not a safe ingredient to handle. The demonstrator says, "It's dangerous s***."

Consumer Uprising

In the last year, information about meat glue has exploded across the Net. It smacks of betrayal to discover later you've already consumed untold amounts of a previously unknown substance. The fact that people must search so diligently for what's in their meal staple is disconcerting to say the least. It is now making the rounds of mainstream media outlets everywhere.

Since it is considered by the USDA and FDA as safe and unnecessary to label, banning or regulating its use is more than unlikely. Would the consumer continue buying such meats if they were clearly labeled? Maybe, maybe not. But they deserve to know what they're actually eating; and this silent move on the part of the meat industry could backfire, as sore feelings cause people to opt for different meal choices.

Many are already swarming around farmers markets and small-farm private buying clubs to purchase grass fed meats where they can witness and hold accountable every process of the food.

Ultimately, the consumer has the most control. It is up to us to research and ask questions before spending. You are the one paying money; you are the one ingesting it; you have a right to know. It might annoy the butcher or server, but it never hurts to ask for more information.

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


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19 comments:

Daemon Nice said...

Good job, thank you

RICK said...

IF IT'S LABELLED CORRECTLY
WE DON'T HAVE TO BUY IT.
BUT IF IT'S SCRAPS GLUED TOGETHER THEN WE PAY THE SCRAP PRICE....
Which is 70% less..
DON'T TRY CHARGING US FULL PRICE !!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is so disturbing. Please forward this to everyone.

Jeff Wefferson said...

HEATHER...isn't this grisly and macabre sacrifice of fellow feeling mammals becoming SO insidious that people are going to say finally, "Why the fuck am I eating this shit??" THE PLANT KINGDOM IS WHERE IT'S AT. Remember the old sci-fi film Soylent Green? The way we're going that scenario isn't at all far-fetched, especially if people can't even recognize what they are stuffing into their cavity. jeff the dolphin guy

Anonymous said...

If you think this is bad, check out Monsanto products.

Anonymous said...

OK SO THE GLUE ON THE MEAT IS WHAT IS CAUSING EVERYONE TO GET BLOODCLOTS IN THEIR VEINS OR AROUND THERE HEARTS....THERE IS NEVER NOTHING WRONG WITH THE TYPICAL BACK YARD COW....IT IS THE ADDITIVES AND OTHER THINGS THEY PUT IN THE FOOD....
WOW....I THINK I AM JUST GOING TO START RAISING MY OWN FOOD....SCREW THIS CRAP....YES I WILL KNOW WHERE MY MEAT COMES FROM....I WILL GO BUT THE COW MYSELF TAKE IT TO THE SLAUGHTER HOUSE AND WATCH THEM TO MAKE SURE I GET ALL MY COW IN ONE SOLID CHUNKS OF MEAT.....AINT NO WAY I AM TRUST GROCERY STORES AGAIN.....NO WAY....I WOULD HATE TO SEE WHAT THEY GRIND UP WIH BEEF TO MAKE MORE HAMBURGER MEAT.....I WISH THERE WAS A FACEBOOK SHARE BUTTON ON HERE......

Gemma said...

Buy organic. Okay, there are always traces of contaminants even there - but your farmer will at least have cared for his animals in a way that many simply do not when chasing the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

My daughter bought an expensive steak at Walmart and I commented that the texture was more like ham. Soon after eating this I got really ill. Turns out it was injected with gluten [to increase the weight]. Most of your cold cuts in the deli use this trick as well.I only buy gluten free, antibiotic free, hormone free, grass fed meat. [Grains fed in CAFO farms are GMO and full of pesticides]

citizen ron said...

this just puts me one step closer to being a vegetarian. i can hardly tolerate the THOUGHT of eating meat now.

you know what? every single aspect of government SUCKS and should be COMPLETELY ABANDONED. it's collapsing anyway, time to bail out lest it take you down with it.

Ed Lewis said...

The decision for me was simple. I quit eating meat, except for very occasionally a bit of hamburger. Even that I had not eaten for two months and, after I did yesterday and the day before, it has totally disrupted my digestive system. So, that is it for it, too.

I also quit eating any processed food several months ago, and - lo and behold - corrected arrhythmia and low blood pressure that had nearly debilitated me the past year, keeping me from any form of work or fun.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't so long ago that scraps were made into pet food, and our pets were healthy, regardless of what crappy brand of food we gave them. Looks like now they're feeding humans the pet food parts, while they happily feed rendered euthanised animals, 4D slaughterhouse animals, roadkill, and recalled and outdated grocery store meats to the pets. All for the sake of the $$$! Now I understand more fully why my dogs no longer live to 20 or more, and most humans feel like hell all the time!

Anonymous said...

Better learn to raise your own - and process it yourself. Not my favorite job but have found that sometimes when you send an animal into a licensed slaughterhouse, you don't get back the animal you raised.

Ed Lewis said...

By the way, for those that do not know, processed foods are full of toxins that should never have been approved Aspartame, MSG, preservatives, etc.) and for certain should not be in our foods. It is all of those, not just glue, that is now causing 1 in 2 American people to develop cancer, diabetes, high and low blood pressure,etc. In other words, proper nutrition is virtually non-existent or severely limited in all processed foods.

Is the F.D.A. our friend? Well, in 1992 the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, which allows pharma companies to pay a fee to get drugs approved and its officials are tied in with pharma, the food industries, etc. Just as a point of interest the pharma co.s pay half of the 400 million dollar budget of the F.D.A. and officials are basically in a swinging door situation, going back and forth between industries and government. The fee now paid to get a new drug approved is one million. Plus do not forget all the contributions to campaigns, which all should know are nothing but bribes and always assure actions against the people and for the industries.

Anonymous said...

With so much dishonesty in the food industry, does any sane person imagine that the organic food industry is more honest? You're paying even more for the same muck labelled as "organic". Go vegan.

dale said...

As a healthy 70 year old vegan, I suggest that you minimize meat consumption and do yourself and the world of innocent animals a big favor.

Meat production involves: a 2000% fold decrease in efficiency (1 acre of soy can feed 20 people, but the same acre will, used as cattle feed, feed only 1 person. A plant-based diet frees resources to help feed the millions who are starving. This is good for the soul.
2)a 2000% decrease in use of fossil fuel fertilizers and insecticides/herbicides, all of which poison our rivers and our soil, and even have created a huge Dead Zone in the Gulf.
3)a decrease in methane production which not only stinks to high heaven bu increases global warming
4)the separation of animal families and communities and killing innocent animals, using mostly exploited undocumented immigrant labor to do the dirty work
5)more drilling for oil/gas for fertilizer (10% for ag) means more environmental and health degradation as well as extreme climate, costing trillions.
6)more taxes and deficits
7)more resource wars to provide fuel for fertilizers, with lost lives and trillions in
military spending
8)abandoning the commandment Thou shalt not kill, which involves the bad conscience of killing innocent animals to satisfy not nutritional need but base appetite (I like meat).

Clue: we like what are conditioned to like. If you grew up eating insects, you would like insects. By stopping the slaughter of innocent animals you will find not only better health but you will contribute to a better, cleaner, less warlike world and you will find that peace of mind that comes with ending the violence.

Not convinced? Well, food choices are usually not rational but emotional. So just try cutting back: have meatless Mondays. Cutting back consumption even by 15% would have huge benefits to you, your kids, and the environment.

We do not need meat. In the future, it may well be looked at (when we can no longer afford this expensive meat habit)as akin to cannibalism. If a an elephant or cow can live on plants, so can we. It is a fact (you can Google studies, including the famous Loma Linda study) that vegetarians are healthier and live longer than meat-eaters.

Once you get used to a vegan diet (I grew up on meat and potatoes), you will like it but it is important that you educate yourself on how to create well-balanced plant-based meals. Just eliminating meat won't work; you have to substitute nuts, seeds, and whole grains and other sources of nutrition with fruits and vegetables.

Explore alternatives and do yourself and the entire world a big favor.

Anonymous said...

When you shop you CAN tell the diffrence!! The color of the meat is diff and so is the flavor. I could not get the audio to come through so I could not hear what the vid had to say. But I have seen other videos on this subject and this is the type of glue used to close you up when you have had surgery. Needless to say I do not eat beef anymore. Also have you noticed that packages of meat and chicken do not any bones in them like they used to???? I suppose you can glue chicken as well as beef. If it does not have a bone don't buy it.

Anonymous said...

To the lady who bought her steak at Wal-Mart. Don't buy any meat at wal-mart anymore. They sell the worst stuff on the planet. Also a heads up on Perdue chicken,it's full of GMO'S from the corn and soy they feed the poor birds I know I called the company and they admitted to it.

PAGAU said...

I suspect this meat glue of causing health problems relating to blood. I have been fighting health problems related to blood pressure and hyper-coagulation. I have learned how to treat my condition naturally with enzymes such as nattokinase. When I learned how this meat glue works and where it comes from it seemed reasonable to expect it would have the opposite effect on my blood that nattokinase has. So I try to pay attention whenever I eat chicken in a restaurant that has that perfect consistently formed shape that makes me suspect it is not real chicken breast. I have become convinced meat glue does indeed affect me in this way. I wish someone would investigate meat glue from this angle--its effect on the blood. If certain enzymes are able to dissolve blood clots and thin my blood then I am sure this meat glue enzyme does the opposite.

PAGAU

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm not very disturbed by "gluing" as long as the adhesive is organic.

I understand there are potential problems with cooking the meat uniformly, and potential problems with consumers being defrauded because they don't know what they are buying. But if someone wants to glue an organic chicken breast to an organic lamb rump, using organic adhesive, I would eat that in a second. Especially if the adhesive is made from the blood of an organic animal, I don't see the problem as long as the consumer is informed.

That said, I think the vegan commenters above are pretty "out to lunch." Being vegan does not guarantee that you will be healthy, or even that you will consume a smaller percentage of GMO. I suggest to readers who think this that they should educate themselves on what GMO is, and how the industry works. And, btw, the commandment is "thou shall not murder," not "thou shall not kill." All the worlds problems do not center around people being omnivores, as one of the vegan commenters seems to imply. The wars, the oil profiteering, the climate change, high taxation, etc., are not the result of being omnivorous. What a sad and simple view of the world.

My suggestion: when the food runs out eat the vegans, but only if they have been raised on organic feed ;)

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