A large amount of meat in grocery stores and restaurants is glued together with transglutaminase (TG), commonly called meat glue. TG is an enzyme that binds proteins permanently together through the formation of a covalent bond. This is a strong chemical bond formed when electrons are shared between two atoms. TG forms an insoluble protein polymer. A common polymer is plastic. Plastic is insoluble and does not break down in the environment. Based on this concept, when TG is used to bond proteins, the end product is not easily digested.
Who Creates Meat Glue?
Activa is the most common brand of transglutaminase (TG). It is protein-bound lysine plus protein-bound glutamine (free amine + carboxamide). The same Japanese company (Ajinomoto) that manufactures Activa also produces the vast majority of monosodium glutamate (MSG). Both of these hazardous products have been allowed by the FDA to be sold in the United States for a long time. TG has been available since the 1970’s, and MSG has been sold since the early 1900’s. They have never been removed from the GRAS (generally regarded as safe) list, even though there have been an astounding level of complaints surrounding them.
How is Meat Glue Made?
The covalent bond formed in TG is found in a blood clot. Most TG is made from cultivating bacteria using blood (the clotting factors) from animals, usually cows and pigs. TG can also be made from plant extracts (kosher), but this is not as common. Since food labeling does not require TG to be exposed, a consumer does not know if the meat they are buying contains TG, or what type of animal’s blood was used in the manufacturing of TG. Some TG may also be mixed with gelatin and/or milk products when it is used in consumer products.
Why is Meat Glue Used?
Why would people desire to use meat glue? The answer is simple: profit margin. Once an animal is cut into steaks, the scraps can then be glued together and sold for the same price as a steak, instead of the lower price that would be received for pet food scraps. This butcher’s secret is still unknown by many consumers. Professional butchers admit that it is hard to tell the difference between a true cut of meat and glued pieces.
Where Does TG Show Up?
- Fresh steaks
- Reconstituted steaks, fillets, cutlets
- Imitation crab meat, chicken nuggets, fish balls
- Sausages and hot dogs without casings
- Meat noodles – shrimp
- Doughs – for strengthening
- Yogurt, cheese – as thickener
- Tofu – as binding ingredient
TG meats are linked to a higher incidence of food poisoning because the outside of meat pieces tend to harbor the most bacteria. So, when many small pieces are glued together, the overall bacterial count is higher than one large piece of meat.
Certain neurodegenerative diseases are a mutation of transglutaminases: Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, palsy, and even celiac, as this quote from Neurochemistry International verifies.
“Transglutaminases (TGases) are enzymes that are widely used in many biological systems for generic tissue stabilization purposes. Mutations resulting in lost activity underlie several serious disorders. In addition, new evidence documents that they may also be aberrantly activated in tissues and cells and contribute to a variety of diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases. In these cases, the TGases appear to be a factor in the formation of inappropriate proteinaceous aggregates that may be cytotoxic. In other cases such as celiac disease, however, TGases are involved in the generation of autoantibodies. Further, in diseases such as progressive supranuclear palsy, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, the aberrant activation of TGases may be caused by oxidative stress and inflammation.”1
The TG enzyme contains gluten. Perhaps the prevalence of TG in the food supply is contributing to the rising sensitivities to gluten. If a person is consuming an excessive amount of gluten in meat and dairy (those containing TG), in addition to grains which also contain gluten, this could eventually lead to gut issues. It is well known that the majority of people with gluten intolerance do not actually have celiac disease. TG consumption may be contributing to the rise in gluten sensitivity. Especially be aware of TG if there is a known gluten sensitivity.
Cutting out Processed Foods
To cut out TG and other hazardous ingredients added into food, only buy farm raised meat that is processed specifically without the use of chemicals. Eat homemade yogurt and cheese. There is a wide variety of ingredients used in supermarket foods that are not required to be identified on labels. Labeling laws are lacking in full disclosure. Be wise with food choices and strive to avoid processed foods to prevent harmful side-effects.