Warning: This video might seriously ruin your appetite for protein.
By now, you’ve probably heard that the meat industry is sort of sketchy, but this Australian news program’s exposé on meat glue might send you running from the steakhouse, permanently. The program demonstrates how “meat glue,” a.k.a. transglutaminase, a binder made of blood plasma from pigs and cows, is used to re-attach meat scraps so they can be sold as larger cuts of meat. The glue works so well that not even professionals are able to tell the franken-steaks from the real thing: great for restaurants and suppliers; bad for consumers who don’t know that what they’re buying isn’t 100% beef.
Beyond deceiving customers into paying high prices for mystery scraps of meat, meat glue is also far more likely to harbor bacterial contamination than actual meat, posing a serious health risk for consumers who are none the wiser. (This is why transglutaminase was banned in Europe in May 2010.)
And you know what else is gross? Our requisite Wikipedia search revealed taht New York chef Wylie Dufresne (if you’ve ever watched Top Chef, you probably know who he is; his photo to the right should right a bell) used meat glue to create a “pasta” almost entirely made of shrimp that was lauded by food critics and chefs. Of course, Dufresne isn’t heading up a corporation that makes billions by fooling customers into buying glued-together scraps of meat, but still: Can we not turn meat glue into a tool of the gourmet?
We have enough trouble discerning whether it’s safe to eat a factory-farmed steak.