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Bad food additives in disguise – meat glue

Bad food additives are bad for health, but meat glue, also known as thrombian or transglutimanese enzyme, is a concerning addition to all sorts of food products that we aren?t even told about.

Meat glue is used to re-form small bits of meat products into larger pieces. Recently banned in the EU it is used in many other countries, including Australia, without any labelling requirements.

Meat producers use meat glue to re-form all sorts of meats: chicken, beef, pork, lamb and fish. It is undetectable, even to a trained eye, and it cannot be tasted, even in cooked products. Meat glue also makes an appearance in products like noodles (as a firming agent), milk and yoghurt products (for a creamier texture), sausages and hotdogs (for binding), chicken nuggets and crab sticks. If you are eating these products, you are most likely eating one of many bad food additives which may be doing unknown harm.

Meat glue is made one of two ways; via a process of bacterial cultivation or derived from blood plasma, in particular the coagulant that causes blood to clot. A chicken product may be glued together with meat glue made from beef blood, a beef rib eye glued together with blood product from pork. What this means for consumers who choose to avoid one sort of meat for health or cultural reasons is that they may be unknowingly consuming it anyway.

Certainly consumers are right to voice concerns about the misleading way in which meat products are sold to us without our knowledge. Cheaper cuts of meat may be glued together to ‘rebirth’ top quality looking steaks and we would never know the difference. But there is a more insidious risk at play as well. As the meat glue is based on a blood product, there is increased risk of microbial growth ¬ñ bacterial levels are typically higher in glued products, and this can mean an increased likelihood of food poisoning. Meat glue could be as detrimental to health as food additive 621 or MSG, sulphur or any of the usual ‘bad food additive’ suspects.

Butchers wear masks and gloves when handling this product yet it can be purchased for less than $100 a kilo on Amazon. In any assessment of additives, practical details such as these must be considered.

At present, the biggest clue we have on a label that meat glue has been used is an ingredient listed as ‘composite meat produc’. We as consumers need to be told about all food additives used in a production process, even the ones not considered an ‘ingredient. We need to be told about food additive dangers. We are entitled to know exactly what is added to our food.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world.

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