Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
25 May

Meat Glue: Separating Fact from Fiction

If you’re a fitness and nutrition nerd, you’re long past the grade school days of willingly eating glue, paste, and other pseudo-edible adhesives, but there’s a decent chance you’re still eating an entirely different kind of glue unknowingly. Maybe even on a regular basis. I’m talking about meat glue, also known as transglutaminase, which restaurants and food producers use to create “steaks” out of “glued-together” stew meat, add body to dairy products, make imitation crab, improve processed meat mouth feel, to name a few. A video exposing the “secret” of meat glue has been making the rounds of the various health circles, and more than a few readers have asked me about it. Here’s the video in question, taken from a recent Australian expose:

With that out of the way, what exactly is transglutaminase, and should you be worried about it?

Transglutaminase is an enzyme, produced either by bacterial cultivation (via fermentation of plant extracts) or from the coagulation factor in porcine and bovine blood, that bonds proteins together. Once it’s been cultivated or extracted, transglutaminase is dried into a powder that can be easily applied to a number of products, including

Reconstituted steaks, fillets, roasts, or cutlets – Meat glue is added to disparate chunks of meat (like cheap stew meat, chunks of chicken – any meat, really) and rubbed in. The chunks are compressed together and left to cool; after several hours, the meat pieces have formed insoluble bonds made of protein polymers. You can usually pull apart the “steak” to reveal the composite pieces, but take a quick glance and you’d never know it was cheap stew meat glued together. To most consumers, the resultant reconstituted “steak” is indistinguishable from a real slab of meat once it’s cooked, but a skilled meat glue artist can create “steaks” that fool experts – even when they’re raw.

Sausages, hot dogs, and other processed meats – Transglutaminase is added to provide uniform texture to processed meats. The “bits” become smooth and seamless. Imagine Oscar Mayer balogna and you’ll get the picture.

Imitation crab – Similar to hot dogs and sausages, only made with fish, usually pollock.

Fish balls, chicken nuggets, and other examples of deliciousness – Makes all that chicken viscera go down smooth.

Novel culinary creations – Some chefs are getting pretty creative with meat glue. One guy in NYC, for example, uses meat glue to make flourless noodles out of shrimp! I’d eat that.

On its face, meat glue sounds awful. I don’t think I have to explain why. It’s just repulsive on a visceral level. Furthermore, it’s generally used to make some pretty awful foods. We can’t really blame the transglutaminase for that, though. It’s not the meat glue that makes chicken nuggets a bad idea; it’s the hydrogenated vegetable oil in which they’re fried and the refined wheat breading in which the “chicken” is encased. I suppose you could call meat glue an enabler, but it’s not the offending party. But is it itself bad for you?

The FDA has deemed it “generally safe” (what confidence!) and there’s got to be something in PubMed that justifies their conclusion… right? Well, I searched far and wide and while there is a ton of research on culinary and industrial applications of transglutaminase, there was nothing about the safety thereof. Nothing good, nothing bad. It simply wasn’t there in any direction.

Most of it was stuff like the paper showing that microbial transglutaminase increases the sensory appeal of chicken sausages made from various chicken parts across several parameters, including texture, water retention, and appearance. Note that researchers failed to mention taste. I take this to mean meat glue made the texture of the sausages uniform (so the average consumer doesn’t know what they’re eating) and improved their plumpness (added water weight). In other words, meat glue allows consumers to eat meat paste without inconvenient thoughts of dead baby animals obstructing their carefree chewing and swallowing. So, it may be used in a misleading way, but there’s nothing here about negative health effects, either from eating the glue itself or caused by it.

As I see it, the real danger with glued meat is in the uneven heating of reconstituted steaks made up of random pieces of stew meat. See, most reasonable people eat their steak at or below medium doneness. I’m a rare-to-medium-rare man myself, and with a real slab of animal, going rare, medium rare, or medium usually isn’t a problem. The exterior – the part that’s potentially been exposed to dangerous bacteria – is cooked or seared. The inside may be undercooked or even bloody, but the inside of a piece of real meat doesn’t get significant bacterial exposure, so there’s little to no danger. But “steaks” aren’t one piece of meat. They are made of multiple pieces of meat, each with its own history, its own exterior, and its own collection of bacteria. If you treat a glued together “steak” like a regular steak and eat it below medium, you’ll be eating some undercooked meat exteriors. Unless you braise that fake steak or burn it to a crisp, there’s no way you’ll know if all the component pieces have been sufficiently cooked. And if you’re ordering steak at a standard restaurant, you have no control over how it’s handled – or even what you’re really eating. Bonded meat isn’t necessarily unhealthy, but cooking it well requires a little more attention to detail, and in a restaurant, especially your garden variety chain restaurant, the cooking is entirely out of your hands.

Beyond that, it’s the deception that really bugs me. I think a lot of the outcry against transglutaminase can be explained by that: people don’t like being deceived, especially when there’s money on the line. If I buy a filet, it had better be an actual filet (singular), not a random assortment of trim and stew cobbled together and sprinkled with a bonding enzyme. Luckily, I know the meat I buy is real and whole, as does anyone who buys direct from farmers or from trusted butchers and meat counters, but not everyone has the inclination or ability to source meat from the source.

If you’re worried that the meat you buy contains transglutaminase, you can do a few things to avoid any potential complications:

  • Do what the guy in the video did and gently tug on your meat. If your steak comes apart, it’s probably “steak.” It’s probably best to perform the tug test before you pay for the meat, and most meat counters/butchers will allow you to inspect what they sell.
  • Just cook it thoroughly. I would advise against cooking your “steak” like a steak until well done, because, well, that just ruins meat, but a nice braise, crockpot stew, or soup would all work. Remember: it is meat and it is edible.
  • Ask. Ask your butcher, your meat supplier, or your waiter if the meat contains glue. They should know, and if they don’t (or if they’re unwilling to say), order something else or go elsewhere.

Honestly, though, I don’t think transglutaminase in and of itself represents a big problem. It might come in otherwise unhealthy or suboptimal foods (processed meat, chicken nuggets, etc.) and it might expose you to bacteria if undercooked, but I don’t think it’s anything to lose sleep over.

What say you, readers? Where do you stand on meat glue?

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Timely post for me! I had an idea of what transglutaminase was, but this post definitely makes me want to avoid it…. eww

    I just got a metal meat grinder recently and have been putting off learning how to use it, but I’m going to re read your post on making sausage and try it today.

    Katie wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • George Washington didn’t eat vegetables. Nothing but pure unadulterated American beef – with perhaps a side order of freedom fries. Testosterone coursed through his veins and every meal he ate contained at least 24 oz of prime steak, including breakfast.

      Do you think we’d have won our independence if Washington had been a vegetarian, munching away on his organic tofu and skinless chicken breast?

      Fat chance. We’d have got our asses handed to us and we’d all be speaking German. Fact.

      USA USA wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • Bwa ha ha! Bring on the Revolution!

        Now that you mention it, can you guys over the pond vote in Ron Paul next year?

        Mikey UK

        Mike wrote on May 26th, 2011
        • fat chance :\ trust me, i tried in 2008

          ::back to lurking::

          monica wrote on May 27th, 2011
      • Good speculation. But, just because you write ‘Fact’ there doesn’t mean it is. Usually when somebody says “…and that’s a FACT!”, it’s usually not a fact. Kind of like when somebody says “I literally DIED!” Literally means you really, really did DIE! So how are you telling/writing this if you literally(really, for real) died? One can’t really say that B would have happened because of A, if A did not happen.

        Curmujeon wrote on May 26th, 2011
      • German????? I think you got your wars mixed up. Go have another steak.

        Free Range wrote on May 26th, 2011
      • Geo Washington may have been the winning general, but only because the French navy supported him at the final victory. He lost nearly every battle.

        The reason the colonists won: sniper fire, hit and run guerilla tactics – not regular army warfare. Washington had no command over this type of warfare. It was considered un-military, ungentlemanly, and downright bad manners.

        Meat glue? I’ll avoid it whenever possible – and I’ll let friends and guests know the poor value they are probably getting.

        Great article. Well done! 😉


        Reg wrote on May 27th, 2011
        • Hi Reg! One reason Geo was a conundrum for his contemporaries is that he had participated, ok, fought in skirmishes with natives and he was fully aware of gurella tactics. His problem is that he couldn’t convince his generals that he was right. Although he did manage to teach some. the need for the French was a matter of scale, for their assistance I am forever grateful.

          Ah well, this is a meat and additives blog, so I’ll desist from the history discussions…for now.

          Mary Anne wrote on May 28th, 2011
      • Well, Ben Franklin wrote a lovely little essay (that you never read in school) entitled “Fart Proudly.” In which he expounds on the odoriferousness of flatulance; he postulates that those who do not eat meat have benign (or at least lovely) smelling flatulance. Me? I couldn’t care less. Bring on the prime rib. I’ll eat Ben’s serving!

        BTW, supposedly, Ben was a vegetarian supporter…there are some reports that his son didn’t like him much; maybe that’s why?

        Mary Anne wrote on May 28th, 2011
        • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a must read! Lots of great wisdom within the text.

          Ben Franklin did experiment with vegetarianism for some time, but renounced it on a fishing trip, realizing that fish eat other fish. In his own words:

          “…when the Fish were opened, I saw smaller Fish taken out of their Stomachs: Then thought I, if you eat one another, I don’t see why we mayn’t eat you. So I din’d upon Cod very heartily and continu’d to eat with other People, returning only now and than occasionally to a vegetable Diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do.”

          Nutritionizt wrote on May 28th, 2011
      • Steaks? He ate whole cow in one siting…AND asked for seconds.

        Paleo Josh wrote on June 3rd, 2011
      • If the meat was as pure as it was when George Washington ate it, we wouldn’t have the problems we now have!! It was killed and freshly eaten…done!!

        MiMi wrote on June 27th, 2011
    • im with u on that….cant believe weve been eating glue this whole time…really makes u consider being a vegitarian!!!

      ruthie wrote on November 20th, 2011
  2. If meat glue enables people to eat healthy parts of the critters (offal, cartilage etc.) without being grossed out, wouldn’t it actually be a good thing? People complain about hotdogs being composed of snouts and a**holes and whatnot, but those things are probably actually better for you than a loin chop. It’s the chemicals and crap that’s the bad part of hot dogs… the meat glue is pretty neutral it seems.

    Sarah wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • head cheese: a ‘sausage’ made from bits and pieces of meat from a hog head, sometimes includes vegetables, usually includes a variety of spices (e.g., mustard seed), and held together by geletin rendered from the hog. Head cheese is really, really good. Here in Portland, OR we have two shops that make their own head cheese. Each are unique, both very tasty.

      Geletin is naturally occurring in animals. Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook highly recommends adding chicken feet, calf foot to your stock to enrich it with this natural geletin. Chicken feet are relatively easy to come by, but calf feet are pretty difficult. I have managed to get a pretty good geletin in beef stock with cow feet, but at some point would really like to use calf.

      Mary Anne wrote on May 29th, 2011
  3. Said a prayer while having a steak at a restaurant a while back. Something about it just wasn’t right. The texture was, well, icky, and the grain didn’t seem to run normally. I kinda of suspected meat glue, but I needed the protein and I never, EVER send anything back to the kitchen. Wish I could remember where…I’d like to avoid ordering that again.

    Nannsi wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • The grain is the thing that I think would set my spider-sense tingling. A “a skilled meat glue artist” might fool me, but I suspect most chain restaurants aren’t employing “artists” in their supply chain.

      The shrimp noodles sure sound fascinating though.

      jj wrote on May 25th, 2011
  4. Scary stuff. The “glu” of transglutaminase stands for “gluten.” I can’t help but wonder if the increases in gluten sensitivity we’re seeing in the US aren’t in part due to use of this enzyme, especially seeing the casual handling of it. Could it remain intact if inhaled, dermally absorbed, or eaten? It’s not a “self” transglutaminase and could be recognized by the immune system as foreign. If this leads to mis-recognition of your own transglutaminase as foreign as well –> celiac. Just another of my kooky theories :-)

    September wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • How true is this? Is this really a gluten product? Goodness gracious! I am gluten intolerant. This just gets worse and worse for us who are GI. We can’t have ANY “fun”.

      cjbrooks wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • It’s not a gluten product, but rather the enzyme your body uses to help break down gluten.

        I’m suspicious of the safety of taking in excessive amounts of this enzyme, particularly since the exact form of it is different from the form of your own native enzyme.

        September wrote on May 25th, 2011
        • I was thinking the same thing about our bodies being confused about this enzyme. I tend to think that when our bodies get presented with more than a natural level of just about everything we down-regulate production of the enzyme in this case and also receptors for this enzyme. Just another ingredient to potentially be worried about. When something is classified as “generally safe” I have to think it’s just the opposite.

          Nutritionator wrote on May 25th, 2011
        • Ahhh, it’s helpful not to create folk etymologies from parts of words here. as Lyle writes, this has nothing to do with gluten, as glutaminase breaks down glutamine into glutamate. Please do your research before posting things like that. This is exactly how urban myths get started.

          Joseph wrote on May 25th, 2011
        • The “glu” is not short for gluten, it’s for glutamine – an amino acid. Transglutaminase has nothing to do with gluten: not made from gluten, not used to digest gluten, etc.
          Transglutaminases are a group of enzymes that perform a variety of jobs, mostly binding free amino acids to form and grow proteins.

          KLKM wrote on May 25th, 2011
        • It doesn’t actually break down gluten, but interacts with gliandin peptides which are derived from gluten. It can deamidate gliandin peptides which, if I recall correctly can interact with zonulin which acts like a molecular gate increasing intestinal permeability. Microbial transglutaminase scares me as I do think there are issues with cross reactivity. Antibodies generated against transglutaminase which allow it to stay in a continually “on” conformation have potential implications in many diseases because of the high number of transglutaminase substrates. Such fake steaks could also be more difficult to breakdown in your digestive system causing problems. Essentially it’s like eating big scabs. Personally, I’d avoid it.

          Amanda wrote on May 25th, 2011
        • Just to point out that the TTGA (Tissue Transglutaminase Antibody) Test is used to diagnose Coeliac Disease. 0-5 is negative, 6-7 borderline and 9+ is positive.
          Mine was 97.

          There is a link to gluten there but I am neither a gastroenterologist or endocrinologist so .

          Ian wrote on May 26th, 2011
      • It’s my understanding that the “glue” is made from cow’s and/or pig’s blood and isn’t plant-based.

        kris wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • The “glu” of transglutaminase stands for glutaminase, which is an enzyme that creates glutamate from glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid, glutamate is a neurotransmitter and NONE OF THESE HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH GLUTEN.

      Also, taking in excessive enzymes is bad if you eat them raw. And by bad, i mean it may give you some gas or a headache. After cooking, the enzymes are denatured and inactive. To mark’s point, this becomes more of an issue if you don’t thoroughly cook the meat.

      Lyle wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • Thanks for the clarification.

        cjbrooks wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • True, I misspoke when I said the “glu” means “gluten.” That is just my way of thinking of it. The actual etymology of the word refers to it’s glutamine degrading property. It is, however, linked to gluten, as anti-transglutaminase antibodies develop with gluten sensitivity. The gluten proteins cross-link to the transglutaminase enzyme and initiate a B cell response against the host transglutaminase resulting in autoimmune disease.

        September wrote on May 25th, 2011
  5. No WONDER that expensive filet in the restaurant seems pieced together, and does not taste like my filets from my trusted butcher. NOTHING else tastes like filet…it has its own flavor, and those $30-plus filets in the fancy place down the street are not really filets at all. Never again. I’ll stick to a whole, bone-in chiken breast when I eat out!

    cjbrooks wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • The odds that the restaurant is actually selling you pasted together pieces of meat are pretty remote.

      rob wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • Agreed.

        Mark Sisson wrote on May 25th, 2011
        • I think the cost of wages would outstrip any cost of sticking meats together. If you cant notice the difference in cuts then it would be a waste in any case.
          Love the use of the brine tank and brine needle for creating silverside in the film as if connected to meat glue.

          zentub wrote on September 8th, 2011
      • Actually, I have had this happen, and I wondered why the filet was so different than the ones I cook at home. Now I know. I also know why the breakfast sausages that my daughter cooked up for the grandkids were so “slippery” and kind of slimy compared to the ones I grew up with…haven’t had any for years, and they were just plain STRANGE to feel in my mouth.

        cjbrooks wrote on May 25th, 2011
        • Pretty sure it’s all in your head.

          Matt wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • OK – I work as a cook in a restaurant. We buy our filet as a whole tenderloin & cut off each steak as they are ordered. The tenderloin must be “cleaned” beforehand – there is a tough part running through it we call the “tail” & that gets cut out. Sometimes when you cut off a filet there is a hole or an “odd” shape to it. So the cut might get rolled or patted into a more familiar shape before it gets grilled. Then you would end up with one that would seem like it was in pieces. It might even be held together with bacon :)
      As to the difference in taste between the butcher’s cut & the restaurant one, that’s due to the supplier. What type of product came from each wholesaler?

      peggy wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • Thanks for this reply! Its good to read something about someone who actually has experience with steaks at restaurants!

        If the restaurant is quality then I will no think about it. If its Applebees then I will be asking my waiter if the steak has glue. I can’t wait to see what reactions I get!

        Primal Toad wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • The restaurant I work in also does the same with our filet, NY Strip, and Ribeye. There is always extra meat, so instead of buying ground beef, we grind it ourselves. That way, we know EXACTLY what is in our ground beef. We also make chicken sausages with leftover bits of free-range chicken that we get from a local farmer. That’s the difference between having a chef in your kitchen or a bunch of cooks. TGI McTuesdayBees has cooks. And probably glued meat that their waiters know nothing about.

        welfaremike wrote on May 25th, 2011
        • Your restaurant sounds amazing, whereabouts are you located?

          Nutritionator wrote on May 25th, 2011
        • Yes! (to the ground leftovers) I have worked in several places that do this. We serve bison along with the NY & Ribeye & elk – all ours goes into a stew… or my dog’s dish :)
          So like Mike says, as long as you are not eating in a chain restaurant & it’s a little above average (so they can afford to buy good product) you are getting good meat.

          peggy wrote on May 25th, 2011
        • There is no difference between Chefs and Cooks, example in Australia Melbourne they would all be trained at William Angliss College, the term Chef or Cook is used to delineate between establishments, Hospitals and HOtels may hire very good chefs but they are called cooks often with a level attached to show seniority. Anyone untrained cannot be called a cook, they are kitchen hands and assistants.

          leslie wrote on December 21st, 2011
  6. Even if it is neutral, I’m tired of finding out there are things in my food that I didn’t know about, and that they aren’t actually food. Just tell me what I’m eating.

    BW wrote on May 25th, 2011
  7. The biggest problem I have with meat glue is the deception aspect of it. If I order a steak, I want a steak. Use the stew pieces and trimmings for just that, stew or chili even. There are a million uses for stew meat and trimmings, I hate that they try and profit from them more than they should. Its just one more reason I eat out as little as possible.

    Jaybird wrote on May 25th, 2011
  8. Meat glue? I’m just amazed at the garbage I used to put into my body. Mark, you have forever changed my outlook on food, health and life. I am truly thankful for this site and all the time you invest in it.


    Brooke wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Primal living and the entire community is quite amazing, ain’t it? :)

      Primal Toad wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • It sure is!

        Brooke wrote on May 26th, 2011
  9. I have a butcher friend who ordered some meat glue just to play around with it. It was pretty gross stuff. But the “Surf N’ Turfs” we made were actually pretty delicious (Lobster tails glued on to sirloin steaks.)

    Bo wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Hahahahaha that’s awesome. I hope you took pictures!

      Diane the Purple wrote on May 25th, 2011
  10. Woh woh woh. You kind of just rocked my world with this post – definitely printing it out. Thanks!!

    Lauren wrote on May 25th, 2011
  11. So is this listed as an ingredient on packaging? Is it in all hot dogs? I better go check on my Trader Joe’s hotdogs in the fridge…

    Michael wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Don’t worry about meat glue in your hotdogs. They’re cooked all the way through before you buy them so there is very little microbial risk. Also, you’re already expecting hot dogs to be a uniform blend of other pieces of meat packed into a casing… right?

      Ross wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • It does make me giggle that real-foodies get all outraged about “meat by-products” at the same time they advocate organ meat consumption. Hello cognitive dissonance? 😛

        Dana wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • I’m curious about that too, I don’t remember ever seeing it on an ingredient list.. Although that wouldn’t really matter with restaurants since you never really know what you’re eating..

      The Primalist wrote on May 25th, 2011
  12. Just another reason to know your farmers, your butchers, etc. and to buy locally produced food from people you can actually talk to.

    I’m not really all that opposed to the concept of ‘meat glue’ other than the fact it’s yet another vector to end up taking in gluten.
    It’s kind of interesting that you aren’t supposed to inhale it or touch it when it’s still in powder form. What changes in the time from when they sprinkle it on and you buy it from the store?

    Also, if you inhale it, does it cause your internals to bind together? That’d be pretty messed up.

    Hal wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • It’s an enzyme. They’re only active for a short time and then they kind of run down. I hate to be defending this thing, I see it as a rip-off tool for the food industry to take more of our money than they’ve earned. But enzymes are just proteins, and once they’ve done their job they’re harmless.

      Dana wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Assuming, of course, that the protein in question wouldn’t harm you to begin with. (Toxins are often proteins too!)

      Dana wrote on May 25th, 2011
  13. The guys put masks on and one says “It’s toxic.”

    Sure glad I don’t eat out anymore…yuck.
    I know I had my share of meat glue and ‘flavor’ waters and meat colorings and preservatives…
    I eat steak and french fries at a restaurant and I get sick, tired and bloated.
    I eat my grass-finished steaks and home-fried organic potatoes at home and I feel refreshed with energy.

    Primal Palate wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • It’s dangerous to get the powdered enzyme into your lungs because it will react with your lung tissue the same way it reacts with the meat. Once the powder has dissolved into the meat, transglutamase is no longer a health risk. Don’t discount the microbial risks of eating rare reassembled meat, but don’t worry that the resulting meat is toxic.

      Ross wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • I suspect that at that restaurant the steaks were underdone and the ‘french fries’ (chips?) were cooked in recycled umpteen times olive oil. Enough to make anyone sick, bloated and tired.

      At home, you would cook the steak properly (no rare or medium rare!) and you would do your chips in Canola Oil, or better still, lard from your previous roasts.

      Dudley Horscroft wrote on July 17th, 2011
      • 1. you mean canola/soybean/other GMO oil
        2. medium rare IS cooked properly
        3. Canola oil is crap

        James wrote on February 18th, 2013
    • The film you watched also featured apiece of meat being corned or turned into silverside using a needle for effect. Today tonight and A current affair are like reading the comics in the newspaper.
      What happened to string to bind things together?
      Also I keep seeing stewing steak, Asian restaurants often soakin bi-carb to tenderise, I cannot see a binder making stewing steak anything like Eye Fillet.

      leslie wrote on December 21st, 2011
  14. they sell a really cheap filet mignon wrapped in bacon at my local grocery store. it looks exactly like the one in the video! that is just scary

    Burn wrote on May 25th, 2011
  15. “On its face, meat glue sounds awful.”

    Uh, yeah, because you’re calling it “meat glue”

    Chino wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Right, whereas ‘transglutaminase’ makes me salivate.

      Jesrad wrote on May 26th, 2011
  16. “Do what the guy in the video did and gently tug on your meat.”

    Ok, if you say so…

    MeatMe216 wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • insert Jr High giggle here

      peggy wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • Ditto!!

        Barbara Place wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Now that is funny!!!!!!!!

      Andre Chimene wrote on May 25th, 2011
  17. Hmm… I can’t say I like the idea of eating “meat glue” no matter how safe the FDA says it is…

    Michael Lange Optometrist wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Agreed. Doesn’t sound like something grok would have found in his antelope.

      Ross wrote on May 25th, 2011
  18. I had not a clue about meat glue until I saw either the first or second episode of Jamie Olivers Food Revolution this year.

    Next time I go to a restaurant like Fridays or Applebees and see a steak I like I am most certainly going to ask if it has glue. I can not wait to see the reactions of the waiters face!!

    I should just go to Fridays tonight.

    Primal Toad wrote on May 25th, 2011
  19. I wonder if I can I use the glue to make Porbeecken (pork, beef, chicken) Steaks. It could be the new turducken.

    Just imagine strips of pork loin, NY strip and chicken breast glued together and grilled to perfection.

    Maybe I can glue some veggies in there as well and have a “meal slab”.

    Rob Petkus wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Rob, I think you’re on to something there. Although I’m kind of grossed out by the concept of meat “glue”, it actually sounds like your idea could make a really awesome all-inclusive primal product.

      LiciaHarry wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • “Primal product” is an oxymoron. Emphasis on “moron.” (The concept, not you.)

        Dana wrote on May 25th, 2011
  20. We need to know what is in our food. Upon further research and contacting the manufactuer, TG contains casein – a diary protein. My young daughter is highly allergic to all dairy proteins. Any product with ANY allergic ingredients should be labelled as such – it is a safely issue as well as a health information issue.

    Concerned Mom wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • I wonder if this meat glue thing is why some people think they are allergic to beef.

      Dana wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Most of the worlds meat glue is produced by the same company that produces M.S.G

      leslie wrote on December 21st, 2011
  21. It’s always something. I’m moving to the Amazon.

    Peggy The Primal Parent wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • the forest in Brazil or the .com super online books and more store?

      eat the worm wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • The Amazon has fun things like malaria and other fun tropical diseases, so even there it’s always something :).

      Hal wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • anacondas!

        RadiantLux wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • lol — i’ve gotta get playful here! maybe we should pool our money and all buy an island? just think of the primal possibilities!

      tess wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • Second!

        calvin wrote on May 25th, 2011
  22. Not to change the subject but when I saw “meatglue” I thought it had something to do with the guys at epicmealtime on youtube LOL

    Nate wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • me too. i was thinking, sweet, grind up some sticky meat and use it to combine less sticky meat. sounds like something they’d do

      eat the worm wrote on May 25th, 2011
  23. This is why I buy local and know the farm my food comes from.

    Gary Deagle wrote on May 25th, 2011
  24. Sent in a review to Amazon about the 30 Minute Cookbook which I really enjoy. And belive me, I am not a fan of cooking. Also, I recommended purchasing it with The Primal Blueprint…makes sense right?

    tootsie wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Thank you for the review, tootsie!

      Mark Sisson wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • yup! did mine too. And found out about the coconut cookbook. Hello! where have I been??

      peggy wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • hey, is anyone “cooking the book”? i’m working my way through the 30 minute cookbook and would love to share with others how the recipes are turning out.

      i’ve looked on the mda forum but haven’t found such a thread. if anyone is up for it, maye we can create one. and by ‘we’ i mean ‘you,’ since i still haven’t gotten the hang of the forum format.

      tracy wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • Made the protein balls, subtracted blueberries, added vanilla extract and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

        Result, Primal Cookie dough.

        chipin wrote on May 26th, 2011
  25. The FDA is the reason we have GMOs running rampant in this country without required labeling. It’s common practice for Presidents to appoint people to the FDA who have conflicting interests. That’s been happening at least since Clinton. Just because they say something is safe doesn’t mean I believe them.

    And to me it’s not even about whether meat glue is safe. Maybe it is. More to the point, though, it is used to RIP PEOPLE OFF. If I’m buying stew meat, I want it to look like stew meat and I want to pay a stew meat price. If I want a boneless steak, I expect it to BE a boneless steak and I better be paying the boneless-steak price FOR a boneless steak, not for a bunch of stew meat glued together!

    It is already more expensive to buy pre-diced stew meat because you’re paying for the labor that went into cutting it up into chunks. Gluing it back together is downright asinine and just adds more to the price tag. I would be better served spending that money on grass-finished beef.

    I’m TIRED of the food industry trying to fool me. If I want dairy cream it had better be dairy cream, not cream cut with skim milk and gums (I’m lookin at you, Kroger). If I want pastured eggs for their greater vitamin content, don’t give me CAFO eggs from a chicken who’s been fed marigold petals. If I want crab, don’t give me pollock. At least the stuff in the tubs is labeled imitation, but that’s not true of the stuff you find in prepared foods (like sushi). Don’t give me margarine for butter, don’t give me five-year-old faded green matter for herbs. If I had room and money to raise all this stuff myself I totally would, I’m that fed up with being treated like a mindless consumption machine. Push my buttons and I’ll give you my money. Really, there’s so much more to life than that!

    Dana wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • I totally agree with you, Dana.

      This no-labelling smoke and mirrors stuff drives me insane!

      Alison Golden wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Hi Dana,
      Just want to say that I really enjoy your comments on various posts. Thanks for always contributing! I totally agree with you about the stew meat :)

      ashley wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • While I agree that a lot of what is being talked about is frustrating. I think the biggest takeaway for me from these comments is the lack of education regarding said topics. Things happen because people do them… They will continue doing them until it doesnt make sense. Applebees is gross tgif is gross meat glue or not. The proliferation of these places is the result of people patronizing them. Like a boycott make choices With your time and money that promote a better world. I mean wtf … If you dont want to be a mindless robot whose buttons get pushed then stop being mindless.
      Further as someone who has made sausages and used meat glue and has been in the restaurant industry for over ten years i can say that all sausage is not made with meat glue like the aforementioned head cheese and natural geletine example states. A hot dog is something called an emulsified sausage another example would be
      Mortadella or bologna. Pick up a book on classic french, german, or italian charcuterie. Or continue to push ignorance and blame the restaurant that YOU chose to spend your money at that clearly serves underwhelming products meat glue or not.

      J wrote on November 8th, 2015
  26. I’m curious about the ‘labeling’ ‘restrictions’ the FDA has set up. i.e. when I go to the grocery store I know the difference between choice and prime… or I see ‘sirloin filet mignon’ and I know it’s not what I’m looking for – ‘tenderloin filet mignon’ (especially if it’s a thick center cut without bacon around it (to hold together the small ends as referenced by a previous poster). Is it possible the thick filet I’m buying is actually glued together filet ends? or something else? (I guess I’m with some of the others – if you say the glue isn’t bad, then ok, but if I’m paying $19.99 a lb for glued together crappy pieces, then I’m upset)

    Steph wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • You can ask that the butcher cut your meat for you directly from the side or carcass if you are worried.
      Truly the glue is safe enough we have consumed it for 50 years: see: for a good read on transglutaminase.

      leslie wrote on December 21st, 2011
      • Thanks for the link. This explains why I cannot digest most beef I’ve eaten. It says on there that the stomach can have trouble breaking down TG. I always feel ill after eating beef but sometimes I just crave a good steak or burger so I eat it anyway. I started drinking Sprite after eating beef and it seems to help most of the time. I think, perhaps, I will avoid beef in the future. I just discovered this many years late!

        Susan wrote on August 22nd, 2014
  27. I ‘fourth’ the know-your-butcher-food-sources idea.

    I’m also in the ‘full-disclosure’ camp. Tell me what’s there and I get to decide if I buy/eat it.

    Mary Anne wrote on May 25th, 2011
  28. Additional thought. Peggy’s example of beef tenderloin pieces held together by bacon is exactly what I do at home. I buy the whole tenderloin, cut the chateaubriand out of the center to roast a la Cook’s Illustrated, cut as many steaks as I can from the butt (thick) end, and put the extra pieces together, wrapped in bacon to make a ‘steak.’ I do NOT glue them together, trying to pass them off as a tenderloin steak. It’s very clear they are pieces corraled by yummy bacon.

    Mary Anne wrote on May 25th, 2011
  29. If you study animal anatomy you will be much safer when picking meat lucky my dad was a butcher so I pretty much know “meat” when I see it or touch it.

    just like there is a big difference between buying saw dust and sturdy 2 x 4.

    this is blatant fraud I do think there are people that would gladly eat it even if the label said reconstituted or glued meat, but they should not be allowed to sell it as the genuine Item for the premium price.

    alex wrote on May 25th, 2011
  30. Meat glue rhymes with eeeewwww

    Harry wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • I absolutely adore that you pronounce glue properly!

      Mary Anne wrote on May 28th, 2011
  31. When autoimmune diabetes reared its ugly head in our house, it caused us to look at the effects of all foods on blood sugars. Even the steak/ground beef from the supermarket is pumped full of something that makes blood sugars go crazy several hours after eating. Whether that’s hormones or meat glue (also gluten sensitive), who knows. Buying meat direct from a local grass fed farmer will ALWAYS result in a healthier, tastier eating experience. Only downside is the freezer space to store it all!

    Tina wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • Tina, I just caught your post after leaving a comment below on transglutaminase and type 1 diabetes in kids [scroll down for it]. Robb Wolf discusses transglutaminase in The Paleo Solution as a potential cause of autoimmune disorders.

      lorraine wrote on May 25th, 2011
  32. Why is it Europe is so far ahead in protecting their food sources and we are so far behind.

    Stacy wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • This video is wrong: TG is approved for use in the EU. Why? Because unless you snort a line of it during the assembly process, there is nothing unsafe about it.

      Simon wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • Proof?

        Sofie wrote on May 28th, 2011
  33. I stopped eating meat when I found out that sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are neurotoxins. They put it in took make it red.

    I read in a Tao book that that if soak the blood out of meat overnight it will be safe to eat.

    Michael Christacopulos wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • The usual way of keeping packaged meat red is to put carbon monoxide in the packet.

      You use nitrites to make cured meats, like bacon. These salts aren’t neurotoxins, but can form nitrosamines in stomach acid, which are carcinogens.

      Tim wrote on May 25th, 2011
  34. I guess my question is, if they’re willing to deceive us about meat glue, something the FDA claims in innocuous, then about what else do they deceive us?

    I have not trusted the FDA since the mid-90s when I discovered that the FDA doesn’t regulate ALL generic medications the same way. Most need to be within 10% of the original chemical composition, but women’s birth control pills only need to be within 30%. Women, if you are on this stuff, note if your prescription says “NO GENERICS.” This is why. And it can have major deleterious effects.

    So when the FDA says that this meat glue is “generally safe” I really don’t buy it. If it’s basically just made from animal blood – well, we’re eating that anyway. But there are other considerations. Jewish people may not want their beef or chicken coated in pig blood.

    The deception is a real issue, and it warns me that they may not know if it’s safe or not. And of course, Dana’s comments about knowing what you pay for are also very important.

    Tanya wrote on May 25th, 2011
  35. I contacted AppleGate Farms to ask if they used meat glue in any of their products. The rep told me, unequivocally, “NO,” which I was glad to hear. They’ve been getting a lot of inquiries, so this story is definitely getting around. Thanks for posting!

    Paul wrote on May 25th, 2011
  36. After obsessing slightly on the subject of anti-transglutaminase antibodies and celiac, I found this on cookingissues dot com, which is fully supportive of meat glue: “The relationship between coeliac disease and microbial Transglutaminase (mTG) is still being sorted out. There is no doubt that extra antibodies to human tissue transglutaminase (tTG) are found in coeliac sufferers. I have seen research that supports that mTG can cause problems for coeliacs, and research that says it doesn’t. I have not found any acute cases of problems had by coeliac sufferers linked to mTG in the literature, but prudence says coelicas should avoid large quantities of TG till the data is in.”

    September wrote on May 25th, 2011
  37. My husband and I have been trying to decide whether or not to buy a 1/2 cow from one of the many grass-fed beef ranches around here (Boulder, CO). We often drive by the grazing cattle and say to each other: “I want to eat one of THOSE cows.” This clinches it. It’s expensive to pay for a couple hundred pounds of beef all at once, but at least I’ll know what I’m getting. 100% grass-fed, no nitrates, nitrites, other preservatives and no glue. The cow goes from the pasture to a reputable butcher to your freezer. And in bulk like that, it ends up being cheaper anyway as long as you have enough freezer space.

    I don’t like being deceived. I want to know what I’m buying and feeding to my family. I don’t want people slipping crap in my food and pretending it’s not there. It’s wrong on every possible level.

    Shelly wrote on May 25th, 2011
  38. Here is an interesting post debunking most of the video in this post and discussing the food safety risks with meat glue:

    AndyK wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • That’s a great link there AndyK! Very interesting and adds some much needed balance.

      RedYeti wrote on May 25th, 2011
  39. Another reason to stick with 100% natural (hopefully organic and grassfed) meat from a source you trust.

    This doesn’t mean giving up restaurant eating, but if eating out is a common occurrence, I believe better planning and attention must be practiced.

    Restaurant animal products, if not organic, are almost always derived from factory farms where the toxic load is high, the environmental cost is high, and the general cost to your health is high. The best option is to enjoy animal foods from the farmers you trust, and when eating out, choose restaurants that you know source their ingredients very carefully.

    Some people get lazy on lifestyles that utilize animal products and succumb to fast and cheap food. Stay true to healthy, real food!

    Nutritionizt wrote on May 25th, 2011

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