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What Is Meat Glue

By Dr. Mercola

Is your meat made of scraps stuck together with "meat glue"? This expos reveals how you may be being
deceived about the meat you buy -- and why the dangerous practice makes food poisoning hundreds of times more
If you are still on the fence, wondering if you should make the switch to organic, grass-fed beef from a local farm
instead of the mass-produced variety from your local supermarket, perhaps this news brief from the Australian Today
Tonight show will help change your mind.
If you haven't yet seen the video, please click through and be ready to be amazed.
By now most people probably realize that ground beef contains the meat from hundreds of animals from different
parts of the world, but few would ever suspect that the same can be true for prime cut steaks! Well, that's possible
through the use of so-called meat glue, used to "super-glue" small chunks of meat together that are too small to sell, and
passing it off as prime cuts...
What Is Meat Glue?
Meat glue is an enzyme called transglutaminase. Some meat glues are produced through the
cultivation of bacteria, while others are made from the blood plasma of pigs and cows, specifically the
coagulant that makes blood clot.
When sprinkled on a protein, such as beef, it forms cross-linked, insoluble protein polymers that
essentially acts like a super-glue, binding the pieces together with near invisible seams. The glue-covered
meat is rolled up in plastic film, followed by refrigeration. Some manufacturers have gotten so proficient in
the practice that even an expert butcher can't tell the difference between a piece of prime beef and one that's
been glued together with bits and pieces of scraps!

Meat glue is also used for:

Pork / ham Lamb Fish products such
as fish balls
Chicken Imitation crab meat Processed meats

Interestingly enough, Ajinomoto is one of the leaders in transglutaminase.
You may recognize that
name as they are also one of the leaders in aspartame. According to their website, transglutaminase is also
used to "improve the general texture" of a variety of foods aside from meat, such as fat-free yoghurt and
Meat GlueBoth Unethical and Potentially Dangerous
First, there's the obvious issue of misleading consumers. Since food manufacturers are not required to
disclose what they've done, you think you're buying a prime cut when in fact you're paying top dollar for
glued-together bits and pieces that would otherwise have been discarded or sold for a fraction of the cost.
But aside from the fact that it's a pure scam, there's the increased possibility of contracting food poisoning
from these meats.
According to the featured report, the bacterial contamination of meat glued steak is hundreds of times
higher than a solid piece of steak! Hence, if you cook your steak rare, which is the healthiest way to cook
your meat, you're at a much greater risk of contracting food poisoning.
Additionally, when an outbreak does occur, it's difficult, if not impossible, to discern the source of the
contamination, as chunks of meat from multiple cows have now been combined.
Food poisoning is a serious problem in the US. According to US CDC estimates,
anywhere between 6
to 81 million Americans contract food borne illnesses each year, and food poisoning claims up to 9,000 lives
annually. Considering the fact that our current food system encourages pathogens and contaminations of all
kinds, it's not all that surprising that as many as one in four people get sickened each year
The Dangers of Mass Food Production
Many people are still in the dark about the vast differences between concentrated animal feeding
operations (CAFOs) and organically-raised, grass-fed beef, both in terms of contamination and nutrient

It's important to understand that when you raise animals in a CAFO -- away from their natural
environments and diets you dramatically increase the risk of pathogenic contamination that can make you
ill. Just take a look at the 2011 USDA list of recalls for various meat products.
We're not even half-way
through the year and the list is already a long one.
Most CAFO cows are fed grains (oftentimes genetically modified grains, which make matters even
worse), when their natural diet is plain grass. Grain diets create a much higher level of acidity in the animal's
stomach, which E. coli bacteria need to survive.
Meanwhile, E. coli contamination is actually quite rare in organic beef for this reasonthe cows just
aren't susceptible to those kinds of disease-causing bacteria and viruses when they eat what they were
designed to eat.
You'd think that since the meat is being raised in ways that are known to encourage disease-causing
organisms, there'd be stringent requirements on testing. Unfortunately, that's not the case. For example,
there is no federal requirement for meat grinders to test their ingredients for E. coli prior to selling them. And
most retailers do not test either. In August 2008, the USDA issued a guideline urging meat processors to test
their ingredients before grinding. But the guideline is only optional and has been met with criticism and
resistance from the meat industry.
Other Health-Harming Side Effects of Mass Food Production
Modern mass production of food has created a wide array of safety problems. And the methods employed to
make food "safer" typically deepens rather than solves them. In fact, once you delve into the world of the
food industry, it becomes clear that eating much of it is like playing a game of Russian roulette with your
While I'm not going to address them all here, one problem in particular, which relates to the issue of
meat, is the issue of contamination with hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides. As much as 70 percent of all
antibiotics used in the U.S. are for animals, primarily to serve as growth enhancers. The excessive use of
antibiotics in agriculture is the primary reason for the rampant increase in antibiotic-resistant disease in
As for pesticides, most people do not realize that conventionally-raised meat is actually one of the
primary sources of pesticide exposurenot fruits and vegetables!
How's that?
Again, it goes back to the fact that CAFO animals are raised on a diet consisting primarily of grains,
which are of course sprayed with pesticides.
Genetically modified (GM) grains are another growing problem. Not only are they sprayed with MORE
pesticides than conventional crops, but we also do not know exactly what the health effects on humans might
be when you eat meat raised on GM grains.
However, in an open letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus
at Purdue University, warns that a never-before-seen plant pathogen in Roundup Ready GM soybean and
corn appears to be responsible for high rates of infertility and miscarriages in cattle.
In the letter, posted on the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance website,
Dr. Huber states:
"This previously unknown organism is only visible under an electron microscope (36,000X), with an
approximate size range equal to a medium size virus. It is able to reproduce and appears to be a micro-
fungal-like organism. If so, it would be the first such micro-fungus ever identified. There is strong evidence
that this infectious agent promotes diseases of both plants and mammals, which is very rare.
...Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of this organism in a wide variety of livestock that
have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility. Preliminary results from ongoing research have also
been able to reproduce abortions in a clinical setting.
The pathogen may explain the escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over the
past few years in US cattle, dairy, swine, and horse operations. These include recent reports of infertility
rates in dairy heifers of over 20%, and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%."
Whether or not this could affect humans who consume these grains or meats raised on them is yet
unknown, but I wouldn't be the least surprised if that's exactly what we'll eventually find...
Meat Glue May Be the Least of Your Problems When It Comes to Processed Meats
As mentioned earlier, meat glue is also commonly used in processed meats, but that may be the least of your
problems in this case. Processed meats are so bad for your health that I am firmly convinced they should
NEVER be consumed. But that's not just my opinion. It's also the conclusion reached by the World Cancer
Research Fund (WCRF) after reviewing more than 7,000 clinical studies examining the connection between
diet and cancer.

Processed meats are those preserved by smoking, curing, or salting, or the addition of chemical
preservatives. This includes bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, some sausages, and
hamburgers (if they have been preserved with salt or chemical additives) and more.
Particularly problematic are the nitrates that are added to these meats as a preservative, coloring, and
flavoring. The nitrates found in processed meats are frequently converted into nitrosamines, which are clearly
associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.
The latest research from WCRF is only the most recent of a slew of evidence linking processed meats
to cancer.
A 2007 analysis by WCRF found that eating just one sausage a day can significantly raise your risk of
bowel cancer. Specifically, 1.8 ounces of processed meat daily -- about one sausage or three pieces of bacon
-- raises the likelihood of the cancer by 20 percent.
Other studies have also found that processed meats increase your risk of:
Colon cancer by 50 percent
Bladder cancer by 59 percent
Stomach cancer by 38 percent
Pancreatic cancer by 67 percent
And that's not all. Hot dogs, bacon, salami and other processed meats may also increase your risk of
diabetes by 50 percent, and lower your lung function and increase your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease (COPD).
Why Is Grass-Fed Beef Your Best Choice?
A safer option, as many consumers are now beginning to appreciate, is to choose locally grown and
raised foods over those that have been mass produced, despite label claims of being "natural" or "organic."
When selecting beef, grass-fed beef that has NOT been "finished off on corn" is definitely your healthiest
option as it is:
A natural source of healthy omega-3 fats Omega-3s in cattle that feed on grass is seven percent of
the total fat content, compared to just one percent in grain-only fed beef. It also has the optimal ratio of
omega-6 to omega-3 fats (3:1)
High in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a fat that reduces your risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a
number of immune disorders
High in beta-carotene
Loaded with over 400 percent more of vitamins A and E
Virtually devoid of risk of Mad Cow Disease
You know, the rationale behind my nutritional guidelines really boil down to plain old common sense.
My recommendations stem largely from what scientific research has determined are the types of foods
that humans are naturally designed to eat. Health problems invariably surface the further you stray from
eating such foods. Another way to say this would be that your body's biochemical make-up is adversely
affected if you eat things that aren't right for you.
One result of this is that your body's composition will inevitably change.
Why would things be any different for a cow?
When you think of a cow in its natural environment, doing what it naturally does, you likely will picture
it grazing. Is it grazing on stalks of corn? Of course not! It's grazing on green grass. (Animals given a choice
will also avoid genetically modified grains, which really should tell us something...)
When cows eat grains, their body composition changes in detrimental ways, just like your body and
health changes for the worse when you eat lots of junk and fast food. Most importantly for you, these
changes include an alteration in the balance of fatty acids in their bodies, which leads to an imbalance in
YOUR intake of omega-3 and omega-6s as well.
Does the E. Coli Risk Decrease with Grass-Fed Beef?
Yes, it does.
Grass-finished beef has a minimal risk compared to grain-fed beef due to the difference in epigastric
pH in the two diets.
Grain diets create a much higher level of acidity in the animal's stomach, which is exactly
what the E. coli bacteria need to survive and thrive.
Additionally, grass-finished animals live in clean grass pasturesas opposed to dirty, crowded pens
where higher levels of sanitation greatly reduce the risk of contamination as well.


How to Make Healthier Meat Choices
If you want to eat beef in a truly healthful way (and yes, meat can be, and is, healthy), while at the
same time avoiding getting fooled by glued piece-meats passed off as prime steak, follow these guidelines:
The beef should be organic and grass-fed
It should ideally come from a local farmer (try finding a farmer's market or community-supported
agriculture program in your area to do this) who can verify that the products are raised on pasture without
antibiotics and pesticides, and who can tell you which cuts you're actually getting
The animals should be allowed to live in their natural habitats, eating their natural diets
The farmer should be aware of the relationships between animals, plants, insects, soil, water, and
habitat -- and how to use these relationships to create synergistic, self-supporting ecosystems
As you may know, I recommend eating as much food raw as possible, including meat. However, it
absolutely MUST be grass-fed!
You're literally risking your life if you eat conventionally-raised CAFO meat raw due to the high rate of
pathogenic contamination. That goes for both prime cuts and the glued variety.