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I came across this surprising news story on 20/20 on a special story called the "The Real Dish". It was a documentary with insight into the food industry. Although this was a story about safety issues, 'meat glue' caught my attention. Yes, 'meat glue', also known as 'transglutaminase'. Fibimex is a commercial name of this glue, coagulant. A coagulant, made from cow or pig blood (same thing as in our body) allows things to stick together.
After doing a little research I was surprised to find that you too can buy 'meat glue' on Ebay, for about $14.00. Although the experts claim that glued meat is safe, (labeled as 'reformed') one has to think twice when chewing on that juicy steak.
Meat glue is actually a tasteless powder added to meat and rolled up in plastic wrap. The meat is refrigerated for 6 hours and the result is a solid piece of meat that looks real, intact.
The meat industry admits that companies use 'meat glue' to bind pieces of meat that would normally be thrown away, so the steak 'looks' better. Put a little sauce (who knows what's in that) and show a pretty pictures on the menu, and voila, an expensive steak of combined different meat parts from different animals.
Transglutaminase, or 'meat glue' doesn't sound like it's giving the body required nutrition. In fact, it is possibly a cause for allergic or mysterious reactions for innocent consumers who believe they are eating a whole steak especially in a restaurant.
The FDA considers the 'meat glue' to be safe 'when handled properly'. What happens when it is not handled properly? Unsafe? Apparently if the meat is cooked very well, there are no problems according to the experts. The FDA requires that meat treated by the glue be labeled, but this does not apply to restaurants. Nice isn't it? So, it is possible that in a restaurant where a 'great steak' cooked rare, may pose yet another health-risk ?
Examples might be imitation crab, chicken nuggets, or some high-end chefs use the glue to make inventive dishes. For example, one chef used the glue to make shrimp pasta. Sounds good...you can almost see the image of pink pasta that tastes delicious.
Where are the studies on health consequence? Fibrimex, a registered trademark comes either frozen, or in powders that are odorless and tasteless. Yes a tasteless white powder. When eating in a restaurant, you may want to ask your server if 'glue' was used in that creative dish before your eyes. Yum.