If the thought of pink slime grossed you out, how about some glue with your steak? Yep, the beef industry has been using transglutaminase–a “meat glue”– to bind together different pieces of meat (possibly from more than one cow) to look like a single steak, and now that’s being called into question after the recent debacle with pink slime. It’s disgusting, really.
Of course, the meat industry isn’t happy about this attention. Bloomberg.com reported that the American Meat Institute released information showing how transglutaminase, an enzyme, is used in dairy, seafood and baked goods as well as in beef to hold cuts together. They say that the nickname “meat glue” has been used for “shock appeal” and is perfectly safe.
But not everyone is buying that claim.
Last week, California state Senator Ted Lieu called for a U.S. Agriculture Department investigation into transglutaminase because of potential contamination risks. In his letter to the agency, Lieu pointed out how the industry is tricking consumers into thinking they are eating a whole piece of meat, when in fact, it could be several parts that are simply glued together:
Food suppliers, restaurants, and banquet facilities should not be deceiving the public into thinking they are eating a whole steak if, in fact, the steak was glued together from various meat parts.
Consumer groups also warn of the contamination danger when doing so. They say binding together cuts from different animals to form a muscle meat increases the chances of the dangerous bacteria, E. coli.
Michael Hansen, a senior scientist with Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, says this is just another way that consumers are being fooled:
It’s consumer deception. When you see a muscle cut, you think it comes from one animal, not a jigsaw from a number of sources.
Deceiving? Yes. Disgusting that we are eating animal parts that have been glued together? For sure. Not to mention the fact that this glue cannot possibly be healthy for you.
Tell us what you think. Knowing this, will you continue to eat steak?