April 8, 2011
The white powder sold by the kilo, above, is the meat industry’s dirty little secret. It’s “meat glue.” It makes pieces of beef, lamb, chicken or fish that would normally be thrown out stick together so closely that it looks like a solid piece of meat. See also our posts on*Israel’s frozen fish scandal and*how garlic from China is scary stuff.
Restaurants and butchers* can now sell their scraps as premium meat. Good way to use them up – and charge premium prices for them too. Best of all, you don’t have to tell the customer. Once the glued meat is cooked, even professional butchers can’t tell the difference.
“Meat glue” is transglutaminase, an enzyme in powder form, derived from beef and pork blood plasma.See the Wikipedia description of it here. Chefs most commonly use the Activa RM brand, which is transglutaminase mixed with maltodextrine and sodium caseinate, a milk protein.* Using enzymes in food isn’t a new technique. Papaya seed is the main ingredient in meat tenderizers, for example. Rennet and yeasts produce enzymes that make cheese and alcohol, too. Naturalenzymes. Meat glue is a darker product altogether.
Yet according to*Cooking Issues, the French Culinary Institute’s blog (USA), meat glue is safe. That is, the major study carried out to gain acceptance by the FDA says so. And why shouldn’t we believe? It was funded by Ajinomoto, the product’s manufacturer, after all.
This video from Australia’s TodayTonight TV show demonstrates how easily you can create Frankenstein meat. Just sprinkle a teaspoon of* powdered transglutaminase on various meat scraps, knead them together and roll them up* in plastic wrap. Put in the fridge and 6 hours later, you have an easily-sliced piece of meat that looks like real fillet.
Full article here