Weighing in on “Meat Glue”

There’s been a lot of talk lately about “meat glue,” a substance used to bond one or more pieces of protein (meat, poultry or fish) together. Apparently the practice is widespread and the end consumer of the product(s) is rarely aware of the deception. Yes, that’s my take on the subject. It’s a deception to pay for a steak and get served a composite piece of meat. A steak, by definition, is a slice of muscle meat..it is not a bunch of pieces of meat bonded together to look like a single cut of meat. If one is served something that is not a single cut of meat, then that would seem to me to be a violation of truth in menu laws. If you are served “Maine lobster” from the menu, then by golly, that lobster had better have come from Maine. If you order and pay for Maryland crabs, you’d better be getting them! And if you order a steak, you should be getting a single cut of meat. Anything else and you are not, by definition, getting what you are paying for.

I don’t eat a lot of meat – am very happy with veggies in most circumstances. But there comes a time when a good steak just sounds right. And I normally go out to a restaurant for my steak dinners. So, when I go out to a restaurant for my occasional steak, I want to know that I am actually eating a steak, not a bunch of pieces of meat bonded together with transglutaminase “TG” or “meat glue,” – not only from a “truth in menu” standpoint, but from a health standpoint as well.

With a single cut of meat, there is a top side and a bottom side. You grill one side, flip, and grill the other side. All areas of the meat are cooked. Voila – I am served a safe cut of meat. With the bonded meat, there are the sides of the pieces bonded together to consider. And health experts have made the correct call that when forming the “steak” with meat glue, bacteria can get in there and what is formed is not a perfect union. Improperly cooked and there is a health safety issue looming.

Some 5 Star chefs are using meat glue to make some pretty amazing dishes. Apparently, one is making a shrimp pasta out of shrimp using this technique. And others are bonding chicken skin to meat or fish prior to cooking. Alright, so maybe there’s a place for certain high end restaurants to serve composite meats. But I’ll bet when you purchase one of these items from the menu, you are pretty assured of what it is you are going to be served.

So that’s all I’m asking. If you are serving me a steak, I want it to be a single cut of meat. Don’t buy “reformed meat” that has been glopped together from a bunch of end cuts or lesser cuts of meat with glue and slap that in front of me and dare to call it a “steak,” ’cause it just ain’t so.


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