Saturday, April 2, 2011


For years I've heard some say eating processed salami, bologna, ham, turkey breast, etc  are not healthy. Those foods contained sodium,  however I  never heard they contained meat glue.

We have been bombarded with beware stories of so many things, you could go crazy. Some closed their ears and eyes continuing to do what they have always done. I, however, keep the door a little open and observe what's been told.

Just the other day, On AOL news I learned of meat glue. The secret was just released. After hearing about it, the horrid news was on my mind for days. I researched until I was blue in the face and wish to report my findings to you for quick reference

Meat glue  called Transglutaminases was first known in 1959. The exact biochemical activity of transglutaminases was discovered in blood coagulation protein factor XIII in 1968.

Meat glue is an enzyme composed of thrombin and fibrogen, obtained from blood plasma. It can be used by the meat industry as a food additive for reconstituting fresh meat. In commercial food processing, transglutaminase is used to bond proteins together. Examples of foods made using ham, Bologna salami turkey breast.  It combines small pieces of meat, making one larger steak.

TG is delivered as a powder and, like all powders, should not be inhaled. TG should not be consumed directly in large quantities, but consuming active TG in the levels recommended for food usage is harmless. (so they say) TG is classified by the FDA as a GRAS product (generally recognized as safe) when used properly. Although some studies have shown that stomach enzymes have difficulty breaking down proteins after they have been bonded by TG, other studies have shown that these bonded proteins are absorbed and broken down in the body into normal products as though they had never been bonded. (two different therories

When TG-ases are improperly regulated in the body, they are associated with very bad things like the plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease patients as well as in the development of cataracts in the eyes, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), various skin disorders, etc*. None of these are related to eating food made with mTG, but rather due to imbalances in the body’s ability to regulate the TG that it produces. Isn't that what they say about how people get cancer.  It is not the food but how the body reacts to the food.  "does not sound right to me"

Ajinomoto is the only producer of food grade TG, marketed under the brand name Activa (not Activia, which is a pro-biotic yogurt for women). Ajinomoto claims TG  is safe, natural, and easy to use. In the kitchen, TG is primarily used to produce special effects, like peanut butter noodles, shrimp spaghetti, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, and bread.

Safety isn’t uppermost in consumer’s minds. The outrage which lead to meat glue being banned in the E.U. focused on paying premium prices for inferior foods. Yet how much of the blood-clotting enzyme gets into the bloodstream through the skin – a concern for food workers – or through the mucous membranes when we put glued food in our mouths? Nobody knows.

In other words, meat glue allows the manufacturer to economize at the expense of the consumer, who gets less protein in his yogurt but enjoys the mouthful of the real thing.
One could absorb blood-clotting enzyme without suspecting it.

It’s very difficult to tell if the food on your plate has been glued. Most people can’t taste transglutaminase. The seams that join disparate pieces of flesh are hardly visible. And a nice, smooth puree could be just that, or a slurry of meat or vegetables made smoother with gelatin and our friend, meat glue.

On Thursday, May 20,  2010, the European Parliament voted to ban bovine. Another consideration EU lawmakers considered was the higher risk of bacterial infection in meat products created with thrombin, due to the larger surface area of meat and the cold bonding process that is used and porcine thrombin used as an additive to bind separate pieces of meat together into one piece. 

Meanwhile, others said that "consumers in Europe should be able to trust that they are buying a real steak or ham, not pieces of meat that have been glued together," and "beyond this specific case, the European Parliament has sent a political message to the Commission defending transparency towards the consumer and refusing to accept poor quality food".  And I heard that Europe has refused shipments of our meat.

Be suspicious of  perfectly round slices of meat or fish in restaurants and  perfectly round logs of beef in the supermarket. Novelty foods, like  shrimp noodles or quinoa chips, are surely synthetically bound. In any case, ask the restaurateur or the butcher, and hope they give you an honest answer. I think we should all demand more labelling.  We have the right to know everything about what we consume.

Below are some clips you might find interesting.  One was from  chef Wylie Dufresne, a leader in molecular gastronomy, owner and chef of the prestigious WD-50 restaurant in New York, and winner of culinary prizes. The lecture was given at the Harvard school of science and engineering. The audience, all sciences students, watched in rapt fascination. Nobody seemed to be thinking how unnatural  it is to eat synthetically transformed food.  But what got me crazy was there was a Q & A after the presentation and no one questioned cooking with plastic. Harmful chemicals can migrate into food cooked in plastic containers or covered in plastic wrap.  Please read my Nov 27 2010.