How would you feel if you paid a premium price for a prime cut of beef only to find out it had been manufactured to appear like a prime cut from scrap meat? Well, if it were me I would be very angry! I have moved beyond feeling betrayed by the food industry. For the most part, a very large portion of the food industry lies, cheats, misleads and manipulates consumers into believing the food they produce is safe and good for us. What they omit is the fact that food additives are not only tricking us into believing we are buying a healthy product, they are actually making us sick. So what if the food we eat causes allergies, asthma, ADD/ADHD, leaky gut, IBS, diabetes and the list goes on increasing daily, as long as the shareholders of the huge companies behind the food industry line their greedy little pockets?
Well, now the food industry has added an enzyme called transglutaminase that binds protein together. The manufacturer can add this enzyme to scrap meat to form what appears to whole pieces of meat that are then cut into steaks. These factory formed eye filets sell for a premium price and you wouldn't even know they were not the real McCoy! Even experts can't tell the difference between a real eye filet when cooked and a factory formed one. And, it is not just beef! Pork, lamb and chicken pieces are all stuck back together using meat glue. Transglutaminase aka meat glue is banned in the European Union but not in North America.
The use of transgluatminase is misleading consumers causing them to spend top dollar for scrap meat. That is bad enough. Of more concern is the microbial issues with transgluaminase. This meat is sold as a whole piece of meat when in fact it is not, it only appears to be whole. That means an increased surface area much the same as with ground meats which gives a larger surface for microbes (eg. E. coli) to grow as well as providing more nooks and crannies for the microbes to hide and grow. Each piece of the meat scrap has microbes that when stuck together makes the resulting glued meat have a higher initial microbe content, hundreds of times higher than a regular whole piece of meat. The use of meat glue is more widespread than you would think especially in restaurants.
The only way you can lessen the chance of paying premium dollars for glued meat is to know your meat source. If at all possible buy directly from the farmer and have the meat processed yourself at an abattoir like we do for beef and pork. Alternately, buy meat from a reputable butcher shop where there is considerably less or no risk of buying glued meat. Avoid buying cryovac steaks and even larger pieces of meat unless you are sure of the source. Avoid buying shaped meats like bacon wrapped steaks or poultry toronados, fish sticks and chicken nuggets. While it may be a bit more difficult avoiding glued meat in restaurants, a restaurant that prides itself in its quality of food and reputation is not going to be serving glued meat. If in doubt ask and definitely check out reviews for any new restaurant prior to visiting them.