Is That Really a Steak You Are Eating?
Related: MSG in Your Foods
by N J Howell unless otherwise noted
Meat Glue: A Sticky Food Topic
Do you ever see the word “transglutaminase” on your food labels? Or on a restaurant menu under ingredients or nutritional information or allergens? No? Really?
Me either. That’s because the FDA does not require transglutaminase to be listed.
What is this mystery ingredient you won’t see on your label? Basically, it is meat glue. It’s used to glue together pieces of meat, among other things having to do with foods we eat.
Transglutaminase …. sounds a lot like glutamate, doesn’t it, as in monosodium glutatmate, or msg. Is it the same? Well, so far, I can’t find a definitive answer to that. I did find out that it is produced by the same folks that brought us msg, Ajinmoto.
It’s called Activa and comes in various forumlations, most of which also contain ingredients that often also contain hidden msg, like maltodextrin, sodium caseinate, etc.
Activa is used to glue meat, hence the name meat glue but what’s more disturbing is that it can glue meat from different animals than the one the glue is from, itself. In other words, your fish could be glued together with transglutaminase enzyme from a cow, that steak on the plate could be bound with transglutaminase enzyme from pigs, etc.
Since it’s not required to put it on the label or ingredient list, those wishing to avoid one or the other of two types of meat have no way to know they are ingesting something they do not wish to ingest.
Meat glue isn’t just for meat, though. Activa may also be used with pasta, dairy products like yogurt and cheese, and other protein foods.
I’m not at all sure how to avoid it, since it is not required to be identified in the foods we eat to begin with. I guess I’m just sounding an alarm among many. If enough alarms sound then maybe the FDA will require this ingredient, and others such as the many ingredients that contain hidden msg, to be clearly labeled in whatever foods contain them.
ps I actually found Activa doing a search for Activia … Not to confuse the two. Although, I suppose Activia Yogurt could contain Activa, how would we know? Monosodium glutamate is not on the Activia label either but I’d almost bet it’s there in one of the other ingredients.