HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Share your food adventure
TELL US

MEAT GLUE? HOW WIDESPREAD IS IT?

o
ospreycove Apr 25, 2011 10:32 AM

the use of "Meat Glue or Transglutaminase, is used to make "Rsstructured Steaks" portion controlled fish and chicken filets from scraps, is a component in Molecular Gastronomy and pioneered by wylie Dufresne of WD-50 NYC to make his "pasta" made from shrimp.

I do not want to eat this chemical made from the Coagulents extracted from fermented animal blood. It seems to be most used by the food service industry, (Restaurants).

http://youtu.be/Ss_b-dRIOOg

Just one more reason to "know your food source"!

  1. twyst May 21, 2011 03:08 PM

    Its awesome stuff! Its sold under the brand name activa in the US, and you can really do some AMAZING things with it. First thing I did was make Wylie's shrimp noodles when I got it and they came out well, then I used it for a few of the momofuku recipes, which also turned out well.

    1. scubadoo97 May 21, 2011 09:22 AM

      I'm sure you know that Transglutaminase is used in making surimi

      3 Replies
      1. re: scubadoo97
        cowboyardee May 21, 2011 09:53 AM

        I believe that surimi is fully pasteurized when you buy it. As such it wouldn't be dangerous.

        The problem with selling, say, a steak treated with transglutaminase and not labeling it as such is that the meat is raw, and cooking it to rare is would be the microbial equivalent of cooking hamburger to rare. It's not that transglutaminase in itself is dangerous, but rather that using it to glue together a piece of meat which is then cooked like any other buries surface area that may be contaminated within the center of the steak where it may not be heated sufficiently to kill bacteria like E coli. By the way, it is likely that using meat glue in this has never happened the way that the 'expose' claims.

        Modern, molecular-influenced chefs who use transglutaminase together with techniques like sous vide which can pasteurize the an entire piece of meat, inside and out, pose no risk. Same with surimi.

        1. re: cowboyardee
          o
          ospreycove May 21, 2011 12:34 PM

          Just give me a natural slice of animal muscle, not some bits and pieces that are glued together.......or let me know that it is bits and pieces.
          I guess that is one reason I really try to know the source of my foods. BTW, King Family Farm in Manatee County Fl. now has Wingate Creek Ranch Beef, also Manatee Co.

          1. re: ospreycove
            cowboyardee May 21, 2011 03:02 PM

            Your wish is granted - like the link above to Dave Arnolds' essay, I can find no evidence that transglutaminase has EVER been used fraudulently to 'glue scraps together' and sell them to the unwary consumer, much less that it's an industry-wide dirty secret. So if you live in the US, every steak you've ever eaten (that hasn't been specifically labelled 'formed' or 'reformed') would fit your criteria. Of course, any sausage would not.

            Best I can tell, the Australian expose that started off this whole wave of panic was sensationalistic garbage that blatantly made up 'facts.' The news for you is doubly good - for one meat glue as it is actually used is not particularly dangerous, AND you should have little problem avoiding it should you still choose to.

      2. JMF May 20, 2011 02:40 PM

        Read Dave Arnold's thoughts, he's the tech guy at the French Culinary Institute.
        http://tinyurl.com/3ew67cs

        2 Replies
        1. re: JMF
          cowboyardee May 21, 2011 11:10 AM

          That is a very good link. Anyone alarmed by this silliness should read it.

          1. re: JMF
            JuniorBalloon Feb 9, 2012 01:06 PM

            This is why I love CH. thanks for a great read and an awesome resource. It's been bookmarked.

            jb

          2. goodhealthgourmet Apr 25, 2011 10:51 AM

            I do not want to eat this chemical made from the Coagulents extracted from fermented animal blood.
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~
            not all T-gase products are derived from animal plasma - some are produced through bacterial fermentation, including the powders available for retail sale. and for what it's worth, they're enzymes, not chemicals.

            mind you, i'm *certainly* not telling you to run out & eat anything you can find that contains them! but they're more commonly used than you might think...imitation crab/surimi, fish balls, gluten-free bread products, ham products...if you see "enzymes" listed on an ingredients label without specifying *which* enzymes, there's a good chance T-gases are in there.

            7 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
              o
              ospreycove Apr 25, 2011 11:31 AM

              goodhealth.....Thanks for the insight. I guess it is getting more and more difficult to find "real, unadulterated food in its natural state".

              1. re: ospreycove
                goodhealthgourmet Apr 25, 2011 03:46 PM

                sad, isn't it?

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                  d
                  deborahm May 20, 2011 01:45 PM

                  I just rec'd the same video forwarded rom a health advocacy group. This article might also explain some other things that will be interesting to you: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/T...
                  It claims that it's pretty widespread (at least in Canada). It mentions that it's used a lot in molecular gastronomy. Yikes. While it seems that the enzyme isn't really anything that animals don't already produce naturally (although it's dangerous to inhale), I would be worried about the types of places using it and the old, low-quality grade meat they're using it on....plus the risks involved in food preparation of re-fashioning meats into cuts/steaks. The bacterial issue seems to be the worry...plus the lack of integrity!

                  1. re: deborahm
                    honkman May 20, 2011 04:25 PM

                    You aware that many "modern" high-end restaurants, e.g. Alinea are using transglutaminases. These are absolute normal enzymes (you have several forms in your body otherwise you will have problems with wound healing) which are just generated in large quanitites through bacteria. (BTW, sold in large quantities are "dangerous to inhale" that is nothing specific to transglutaminases. )

                    1. re: deborahm
                      goodhealthgourmet May 20, 2011 06:02 PM

                      "I would be worried about the types of places using it and the old, low-quality grade meat they're using it on....plus the risks involved in food preparation of re-fashioning meats into cuts/steaks."
                      ~~~~~~~~~
                      that's not really what it's used for, though. the chefs who are interested in molecular gastronomy tend to work at higher-end restaurants with good quality products. they use the T-gase to manipulate/alter perfectly good meat.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        d
                        deborahm May 21, 2011 09:50 AM

                        ~~~~~~~~~
                        "that's not really what it's used for, though. the chefs who are interested in molecular gastronomy tend to work at higher-end restaurants with good quality products. they use the T-gase to manipulate/alter perfectly good meat."
                        ````````````````
                        Yes, thanks for this reassurance. I guess my comment was more related to the original concern about how it might be used in suspicious ways in the meat industry (not in high-end, high-quality molecular gastronomy).

                        Thanks!

                        1. re: deborahm
                          goodhealthgourmet May 21, 2011 10:18 AM

                          any time! glad we cleared that up - i'd hate to think of a fellow Chowhound missing out on good eats as a result of unfounded concerns ;)

              Show Hidden Posts