Meat Glue and Pink Slime. What Evil is Lurking in Your T-Bone?

Gaye Levy, Contributing Writer

Some things simply defy my senses.  This is especially true when it comes to food.  After all, you might remember the saying among us old-time computer geeks?

Garbage In = Garbage Out
And, thus, the same with the food that serves as fuel for our bodies.  Eat the good stuff and you feel good.  Eat the bad, and, well, eventually you are going to feel bad too.
With this in mind, I set off on a tear when I read that glue was being used by some restaurant chefs to hold meat together in a cohesive lump.  Did you read that correctly? G – L – U -E.  Like that stuff in a white bottle you used as a kid to hold stuff together.  Like that grown-up stuff you use to make repairs around the house.  
Gucky, yucky glue holding your food and more specifically, your meat, together.  Let me explain.

Where’s the Beef?

As reported by a local Seattle TV station, many chefs are opting to glue leftover bits of meat together to form a log that can later be carved up as steaks.  The glue that they use is something known as transglutaminase; a natural-occurring protein made from the blood of pigs, cows and chickens.  Now I suppose that to some, an affordable steak is an affordable steak.

But to me?  I would prefer at the very least to be aware of this bonded meat, and be given the opportunity to make an informed choice to eat it – or not – ahead of time.

So just what is this Transglutaminase (TG) or Meat Glue?

Known by the brand name Activa GS; meat glue, is a natural enzyme that has the ability to glue protein-containing foods together.  When raw meats are bound with TG, they typically have the strength and appearance of whole, uncut muscles.  Cripes.  They even sell this stuff on Amazon.

Now I can understand that when you purchase and consume a hot dog or a sausage, you know you are getting mushed up bits of meat and by-products.  But please, do not serve me a nice, juicy cut of supposed steak that is really a bunch of diced up beef scraps.  That is simply not appetizing in the least!
Add to that the potential for bacteria to grow at the fused glue points, and we have an unhealthy as well as unsavory situation.  (By the way, the USDA recommends that “glued” meats be cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees or more.)
But more to the point, as I said before, we have a right to know what we are putting in our mouths and our bodies.  Remember Garbage In = Garbage Out. 
The Pink Slime 
As if that were not enough, I read last week about the widespread use of pink slime being added to fast-food burgers.  (Hat tip to Bernie Carr at the Apartment Prepper blog.)
So what is pink slime? 
According to Wikipedia, pink slime is a “colloquial term for ammoniated boneless lean beef trimmings or similar products, which are considered unfit for human consumption until ammonia has been added.”
Until very recently, this pink slime as been used as a filler in burgers at McDonald’s and other fast food joints.  More grossness.  But, wait, there is more.

Fish genes in tomatoes

This is not the first instance of creepy food stuff going on behind our backs.  This is old news, but do you remember The Fish Tomato?

Well, back in 1991, a bunch of scientists transferred a gene from the Arctic flounder fish into a new fangled type of tomato.  The ultimate goal was to create a better tomato; one that would have good freezing qualities, among other things.  Sounds good, right?  Freeze a tomato then thaw it later without it going mushy.

Luckily for us, the attempt to create transgenic tomatoes failed and the new fangled tomato never made it to market.  Still, to this day, the mere mention of the “fish tomato” conjures up images of a icy cold tomato with fins.

So what is the point of this rant?

The reason I bring this up today is many fold.  First of all, we all need to do our best to stay healthy.  If we are to prevail, we need healthy bodies that can get us from task A to task B in good times and in bad.  I am a firm believer that eating healthy, real food will stack the deck in your favor.

Note:  I need to make it clear that I believe that the decision to be a meat eater – or not – is a personal one, and that it is not a subject that I am going to debate.  Personally, for those that are interested, I was a vegetarian for over ten years.  I now eat red meat at least once a week and enjoy a good burger fried up in my cast iron skillet, or a juicy rib-eye from the grill.  But that is me.  You need to make your own choice.

Another reason I bring this up today is to encourage you to pay attention; and, whenever possible, grow and cook your own food.  There will be no glue or pink slime in that hand-crafted burger patty, and no fish genes in that homegrown tomato.

The Final Word

Bernie (the Apartment Prepper), sent me this message when I told her about the meat glue:

This is just as bad as pink slime and makes my stomach churn just thinking about it!  I wish the food industry were more transparent about what gets into our food but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.  The only solution I can see is by buying your own ingredients and making your own food.  At least you’ll know what you are eating.

And to that I say RIGHT ON!

Read other articles by Gaye Levy here.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation! 

Gaye Levy, the SurvivalWoman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable, self-reliant and stylish lifestyle through emergency preparation and disaster planning through her website at SurvivalWoman speaks her mind and delivers her message with optimism and grace, regardless of mayhem swirling around us.

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