He Cuts Open A Steak And Sees A Dangerous Ingredient..
31 May 2016 Food
In the last 100 years, our food has changed more than it has in the last 2000 years. We’ve found ways to make it safer, healthier, and to increase yields and be kinder to the earth. Food science has changed the game, and we’re better for it.
It can be scary, though, when you’re reading a label and don’t understand what an ingredient is for or where it’s from. Why the heck does that need to be in there?! Most of the time, it’s just there to keep the food bacteria-free and stabilize the texture. Other times, it’s a little bit different.
One of those confusing ingredients is transglutaminase, AKA “meat glue”. Calling it “meat glue,” while accurate, gives a very different picture of what you’re eating.
This stuff is naturally occurring in animals, including humans, and allows us to use cuts of meat that would otherwise go to waste. They’re then sold at a much more affordable price, and because we’re not wasting as much, it’s also great for the earth. It works by fusing smaller cuts of fish, meat, or poultry together to make a bigger, more appealing cut.
It’s also used in dairy products, to give a better texture.
But if it’s so great, why are people afraid of it? Well, there are a few reasons. Some people are worried about the bacterial content from putting smaller cuts inside of a steak, but this can be mitigated by cooking your meat all the way through. There are also concerns of transglutaminase coming from beef or pork products, which would make foods unsafe for those who have religious dietary restrictions, but meat glue is mostly created by bacteria at this point.
The last big concern is that people with Celiac disease may react to it, but there’s no evidence to support that yet. The best bet is to pay attention to your body and adjust accordingly.
While it isn’t a cause for concern from a food safety perspective, there’s the question of getting ripped off. What if you’re out for dinner at a nice restaurant and order a filet mignon, only to find that it’s cheaper cuts glued together?!
The reality is that this isn’t something that happens, and it’d be a violation of laws that are there to protect consumers.
At the end of the day, meat glue is something to be aware of, but nothing to worry about. It offers new ways of using our food, and is the reason we have bacon-wrapped filet mignon!