Meat Glue : The Meat Industries Trick Of The Trade… That Could Be Bad For Your Health


If you live in the UK, you’ll be pleased to hear that this ‘trick of trade’ has been banned by the EU, which is another reason why EU food laws are ahead of the game compared to the US and other developed countries outside of the EU. This ‘trick of the trade’ is something known as ‘meat glue’ which is a substance that is effectively used by meat manufacturers to utilise scrap meat off- cuts, and turning them into ‘prime’ cuts of meat.

Now I am all for avoiding wastage, however there is a fine line between reducing wastage for the good of the economy and environment, and using unsafe tricks that may compromise health!


How meat glue may compromise health

It may seem obvious that any term that has ‘meat’ and ‘glue’ in the same sentence isn’t going to be that good for you, right? Although this may be the case, the ingredient used to form the ‘glue’ that meat manufacturers and some butchers use is transglutaminase. Transglutaminase is an enzyme that contributes to the natural blood clotting process in an animal’s body, it makes a wound tacky and act’s like…well, glue. Despite this not sounding good, and certainly not appetising, the glue itself poses no known risk to health, it is, after all, a naturally occurring substance in the body. The problems with meat glue arise during the cooking process…the more the meat is processed, the more it is handled, and consequently the greater the chances are that it will harbour bacteria. The process of gluing meat together is exposing the meat off cuts to more bacteria meaning the finished piece of meat looks legitimate, but may contain considerably more bacteria such as e- coli.

Because regular cuts of meat are handled on the outside, the middle of the meat is usually sterile, plus the cooking process also kills the bacteria on the outside. However, meat that has been stuck together has multiple surface areas that have been exposed to bacteria, the problem with this is that those surfaces are now inside the meat! The way that steak or fillet mignon is cooked, often leaves the middle raw and the bacteria well in- tact! This is a recipe (literally and metaphorically) for disaster!

The Americans are seriously considering banning this practice which has been going on for more than 10 years, the EU have led the way here, so let’s hope the US find a safe way to make the most of those meat off- cuts, a way that doesn’t implicate one’s health and wellbeing!

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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