What is Meat Glue and How is it Used?
Did you know that about 8 million pounds of meat consumed in the US every year contains meat glue? So what is meat glue and why is it added in your steak? Meat glue enzyme, scientifically known as transglutaminase is a substance commonly used in the meat industry to glue pieces of meat together. This enzyme is found naturally in blood and is used to bind proteins together.
How it is commonly used
Meat glue is often used to bind ingredients of meat products like bacon together. It can also be used to hold together smaller cuts of meat in order to make a larger cut that is easy to slice. This is simply a protein that is used to hold together different types of foods. In many cases, meat glue is used in restaurants that serve products like filet mignon in bulk. Even though gluing meat is a common practice, many food scientists only use this enzyme on filet mignon.
High end restaurants can serve meat that contains this natural glue too. Chefs love this particular enzyme because it can be used to create different dishes and give it a presentable appeal. So long as you’re sure the chef is using top quality raw materials and cooking the meat properly, there is no cause of concern when meat glue is used.
Products that contain meat glue are often labelled as chopped or formed meat products. They have to be cooked with extra care. When cooking products that have been put together using transglutaminase, try to use high temperature of 160 degrees F. Remember meat has to be cooked properly in order to avoid harmful bacteria that may cause serious health problems.
Is it safe?
The FDA has recognized the enzyme as safe to use in food processing, which is why it has been used for many years. Meat glue was used by food scientists after they discovered how to synthesize it from bacteria. To date, there are no problems associated with the consumption of the enzyme itself. The problem comes in when it’s not used correctly. There are some people in the food industry that will use meat glue to hold together meats that are of pure quality so that consumers can assume they are high quality steak. To find out if your food has meat glue, check the ingredient label for transglutaminase.