US industry denies ‘meat glue’ allegations

By Melodie Michel

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: American meat institute, Beef, Meat

US industry denies ‘meat glue’ allegations
The American meat industry has hit back at claims that transglutaminase (TG), dubbed as ‘meat glue’, was used to form fake premium cuts from low-quality cuts, in an attempt to avoid a media scandal similar to the ‘pink slime’ controversy.

The American Meat Institute (AMI) organised a conference call with journalists to set the record straight on the safety of TG, and how it is used in the industry, adding that the term ‘meat glue’, found in recent media reports, was inappropriate.

AMI senior vice-president of regulatory affairs and general counsel Mark Dopp said: “Allegations raised in the media that these enzymes could help form what appear to be premium cuts of meat out of smaller inexpensive cuts are unfounded. Not only is this impractical from a time and cost perspective and irresponsible for anyone to do, it is illegal. A chef attempting to pass off inexpensive cuts like chuck as a premium cut like filet mignon would be breaking consumer protection laws. We have no evidence this is occurring.”

AMI said the product was only used in “a tiny fraction of the meat supply”​, mainly in foodservice, for example, to bind two large beef tenderloins together in order to make sliced filets uniform in size. The Institute added that TG had been recognised as safe by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dana Hansen, associate professor at North Carolina State University, said: “USDA recommends that meat with TG be cooked to 145˚F, with a three-minute rest period. Within a restaurant setting, this temperature is typical even of rare steaks.”

AMI compared TG to other common binders such as egg yolks, starch or plant fibres, and reminded journalists that meat products containing it had to be clearly labelled. “There are no secrets,”​ the organisation said.

Related topics: Meat

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