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"It's OK to eat cooked meat that's been glued."
May 1, 2012 3:07 PM   Subscribe

What's inside your filet minion could kill you. -- Well, it probably won't, but would you order that $15 steak if you knew it was restructured out of glued-together stew meat?
posted by empath (85 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
What's inside your filet minion could kill you.

But I hired my minion to kill you!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:12 PM on May 1, 2012 [63 favorites]


luckily my minions are all robotic
posted by elizardbits at 3:13 PM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I first heard of transglutaminase from a client who offered a course about it to professional chefs. They were using it to bond together, say, chicken and salmon into experimental combinations so I had mentally grouped it with their other high tech offerings, like sous vide before anyone had really talked about sous vide, or hydrocolloids.

It didn't occur to me that it could be used for meat fraud. Interesting stuff, thank you.
posted by mullicious at 3:14 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's virtually impossible to use transglutaminase-reassembled meat to fake a real steak. The misaligned muscle fibres is a dead giveaway when you cut it, and it would be insanely tough if you used stew meat and then cooked it like it was strip or filet.

Besides, there are way cooler things to use it for, like attaching chicken skin to ahi tuna! Or shrimp balls.
posted by mek at 3:15 PM on May 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Heh. I'm listening to the Penny Arcade live D&D games they do at PAX and I just got to the part where Chris Perkins is telling them that the duergar are all minions. Eponysomething?
posted by Gator at 3:18 PM on May 1, 2012


It's generally pretty obvious when a 'filet' has been built out of tenderloin scraps. Check out one of those pre-packaged filets at the grocery store sometime, for example.

Although the demo was done with stew meat, as the article says it's mainly a technique for combining tenderloin scraps, typically the irregular pieces from the chain and the tip of the tenderloin.

The real issue is food safety. People are unlikely to cook these well-done, which is a problem because they aren't actually whole-muscle cuts. Unfortunately the manufacturer can plead innocence since, of course, they recommend cooking to USDA specs.
posted by jedicus at 3:19 PM on May 1, 2012


I've got a simple solution for this (assuming it's even a problem at all, re: mek's comment): make friends with a good butcher and never buy steak at a restaurant. It's hardly ever worth the money.*

*YMMV, of course, but the last time I ate steak at a restaurant I paid $45 for the damned thing and it just simply didn't taste anywhere close to as good as the steaks I make at home for a quarter of the price. This is often true of hamburgers as well
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:19 PM on May 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's hardly ever worth the money.

I hear beers are like five bucks at those places, too.
posted by theodolite at 3:21 PM on May 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've always been suspicious of any steak wrapped in bacon... can't it stand up by itself?
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:21 PM on May 1, 2012


See also:
Skate + biscuit cutter = bay scallops. And most red snapper isn't.
posted by crunchland at 3:22 PM on May 1, 2012


Cypher: You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?
[Takes a bite of steak]
Cypher: Ignorance is bliss.
posted by facetious at 3:25 PM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is often true of hamburgers as well

I would strangle my first born for the dark knowledge of how to make a better burger than the Roebling Tea Room.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:26 PM on May 1, 2012


I've always been suspicious of any steak wrapped in bacon... can't it stand up by itself?

tenderloin is a boring cut if you exclude the tenderness factor. that's why its usually wrapped in bacon or aggressively sauced or seasoned
posted by Dr. Twist at 3:26 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree with you about steak though.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:26 PM on May 1, 2012


Skate + biscuit cutter = bay scallops.

From your link:

Q: Are skates really used to make "imitation" scallops?
A: The long-held myth that skate wings are often cut into pieces to be sold as scallops is one of those "believe it or not" stories that was never a common practice. The unusual bands of muscle fibers in skate wings would make it very difficult to produce a product that remotely resembles a scallop. In addition, this process would probably be so labor intensive that the resulting product could make the product cost almost as much as the real scallop that it was intended to imitate. Although the myth is untrue, it does pay homage to the sweet and appealing shellfish-like taste of skate.

posted by Big_B at 3:27 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Crunchland did you read that page? At the bottom it says the skate as imitation scallops is untrue.
posted by Phantomx at 3:27 PM on May 1, 2012


Stew meat is better than filet mignon, anyways. Way more flavor. Filet mignon and tenderloin are great if you don't have any teeth, but they're horribly overrated cuts. Braised meats rule when done properly. If you want a steak, get the porterhouse or t-bone and you'll have a better time than the guy with the $80 filet mignon. That bone is the best part.
posted by Fnarf at 3:28 PM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


The farther removed we become from our food's production, the more opportunities there are for unscrupulous middlemen to screw us.
posted by Scientist at 3:31 PM on May 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


As one who mostly focused on taking protein apart I'd never even considered that there might be a commercially available enzyme to stick meat together with. So yeah, there's a risk if you're dealing with improperly handled meat (as always) but next Thanksgiving screw the turkey! I'm making ameat Klein's bottle.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:32 PM on May 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Glued meat is obvious, you know it if you've had it. (It has the consistency of chick nuggets steak) . It is NEVER cooked rare, by health standards. This 'problem' is entirely a media invention.

And even if it was cooked rare the primary problem with it is that it increases the bacterial surface area. So at worst it is still much better than ground beef. Have you ever had a burger done medium well. Congratulations you've exposed your self to considerably more risk.

Don't listen to this sensational morning show crap.
posted by darkfred at 3:32 PM on May 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


I use transglutaminase at home. It is great stuff. It, in and of itself, will not harm you - unless you inhale it in powdered form. What WILL harm you is not having a sterile environment or following proper cooking techniques.

This article is hyped up B.S. to sell eyeballs.
posted by Maztec at 3:38 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is NEVER cooked rare, by health standards.

If restaurants find a "deal" on steaks that offers an even slightly higher profit, they'll take it, and they won't ask too many questions, and they'll only go back to a more expensive product if enough people notice or complain. Neither you nor anyone else can say with authority where these products could end up after manufacture.
posted by hermitosis at 3:38 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This article is hyped up B.S. to sell eyeballs.

So why bother reading it in the first place before commenting, right?

posted by hermitosis at 3:39 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Steaks are also one of the, if not the most frequently returned item in restaurants. Anything that threatens increasing the loss rate on high-value steaks will be considered very, very cautiously by any restaurant run by a non-idiot.
posted by mek at 3:41 PM on May 1, 2012


Also, meat gluing is incredibly labor intensive. This is not a low end solution to a problem. In the real world if butchers have small pieces they sell them as stew meat for half price.No sane person would spend an hour gluing together meat so that they could make an extra $5.

Its not a factory job either. Pieces that would sell for more glued are not going to come in perfect machine pick-and-placeable square bricks.

The chef demonstrating this technique is the equivalent of the bondo mechanic. Sure someone could repair a rusted out body panel by spending 80 hours of labor and 10lb of bondo. This doesn't mean that a real professional would use this technique, its slow and expensive.
posted by darkfred at 3:41 PM on May 1, 2012


Hahaha I'm sorry empath but holy shit FILET MINION. I WANT A FILET MINION. I like fishing but I do not like fileting them and the process of having my dad train my boyfriend in the art is slow going.

"Reginald! Fillet this pike, and know that if I find a bone it your replacement will practice on you."

The word you meant to use is "mignon," French for small/cute.
posted by kavasa at 3:42 PM on May 1, 2012 [22 favorites]


hermitosis: my point was that the steak product described in the article does not actually exist in the real world. It was invented, and misunderstood by this reporter after seeing a demonstration of the enzyme.

This is just silly.
posted by darkfred at 3:45 PM on May 1, 2012


This article is hyped up B.S. to sell eyeballs

Tacos de ojos? Where? I'll take three!
posted by Fnarf at 3:46 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Careful, Fnarf, I heard that they just stick a bunch of corneas together and call it good.
posted by kagredon at 3:47 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here is a good run-down on the controversy from someone who actually understands it.

http://www.cookingissues.com/2011/05/20/the-trials-of-transglutaminase%E2%80%94the-misunderstood-magic-of-meat-glue/

Dave Arnold is the Cooking Technologist for the French Culinary Institute. And always a fun read.
posted by darkfred at 3:48 PM on May 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


The word you meant to use is "mignon," French for small/cute.

My reaction too, but then I realized that this story is about the glued together assemblage of lots of pieces of meat by the minions of the chef. So now I sort of like this spelling. Even better misspelling would be filet "millions," n'est-ce pas?
posted by bearwife at 3:48 PM on May 1, 2012


Kind of like how Bart Simpson has old-lady bones despite drinking plenty of "Malk."
posted by Gator at 3:49 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're paying $50 for a steak and it falls apart into chunks, I think you'd notice you're being had fairly quickly.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:51 PM on May 1, 2012


I was shocked when I read about this a couple of months ago.

If you've got celiac disease, this stuff could potentially be quite dangerous to you. The autoantibody that does damage to your small intestine appears to be to transglutaminase.

Talk about Frankenfood (and I don't mean Al).
posted by jamjam at 3:51 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


So are those bacon-wrapped thing really franken-filets? I tried a couple a year or so ago and it was horrible!
posted by snsranch at 3:52 PM on May 1, 2012


At the bottom it says the skate as imitation scallops is untrue. -- Yeah. I was just presenting other 'food x as food y' stories.
posted by crunchland at 3:56 PM on May 1, 2012


> No sane person would spend an hour gluing together meat so that they could make an extra $5.

I use it to glue cats together. I haven't made any sales yet, though, so I don't know much the added value will be.
posted by jfuller at 4:03 PM on May 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


From darkfred's link: The relationship between coeliac disease and microbial Transglutaminase (mTG) is still being sorted out. .

That's fucking great, Mr.Arnold. The thing is, while potential deleterious effects of eating transglutaminase are only noe being "sorted out", the shit has been used since 1970s. Furthermore, until you get an M.D., please just mark on the menu the items that have been glued together or have undergone any processes other than cooking, and keep your opinions on things like biochemistry, microbiology or medicine to yourself.
posted by c13 at 4:05 PM on May 1, 2012


If you've got celiac disease, this stuff could potentially be quite dangerous to you. The autoantibody that does damage to your small intestine appears to be to transglutaminase.


This is false. I believe you're thinking of anti-transglutaminase antibodies, which appear to be elevated in celiac and certain other autoimmune issues. Normally, you have both transglutaminases (which are involved in blood clotting, certain other skin functions, hair--cases where you'd need proteins to stick together), and anti-transglutaminase antibodies, but the latter are only supposed to attack foreign transglutaminases (in viruses and such.) The theory is that something goes wrong and your antibodies lose the ability to distinguish between your transglutaminases and the ones that belong to viruses and such. That's not the same as transglutaminase being the cause of symptoms.
posted by kagredon at 4:05 PM on May 1, 2012


I use it to glue cats together.

Doesn't that turn it into a horse?
posted by Gator at 4:07 PM on May 1, 2012


This article is hyped up B.S. to sell eyeballs.
Tasty, tasty eyeballs!
posted by b1tr0t at 4:07 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The theory is that something goes wrong and your antibodies lose the ability to distinguish between your transglutaminases and the ones that belong to viruses and such. That's not the same as transglutaminase being the cause of symptoms.

And of course you are prepared to provide a citation showing that a. transglutaminases used in food industry are of viral origin and b. there are so few domains that are conserved that anti-transglutaminase antibodies that you may develop by consuming exogenous transglutaminase will have little chance of binding to endogenous form, right?
posted by c13 at 4:15 PM on May 1, 2012


If you've got celiac disease, this stuff could potentially be quite dangerous to you. The autoantibody that does damage to your small intestine appears to be to transglutaminase.


This is false. I believe you're thinking of anti-transglutaminase antibodies, which appear to be elevated in celiac and certain other autoimmune issues

Either you read that carelessly, or you don't understand it.

An autoantibody to transglutaminase is an anti-transglutaminase antibody. The 'auto' prefix merely implies that it's an antibody to a product of the body which produces it.
posted by jamjam at 4:22 PM on May 1, 2012


c13, I'm not claiming those are true. Emphasis is on the theory is. Celiac is still poorly understood. My main point was to clarify the difference between transglutaminase and ATA, which jamjam was conflating. That doesn't eliminate the possibility of risks from transglutaminase, but let's be clear on our terms here.
posted by kagredon at 4:23 PM on May 1, 2012


The autoantibody that does damage to your small intestine appears to be to transglutaminase.

I parsed this as you calling transglutaminase an autoantibody, which is untrue. If you knew that, I apologize, but it was not at all clear from how you worded it.
posted by kagredon at 4:24 PM on May 1, 2012


It was perfectly clear.

If I'd meant transglutaminase was was an autoantibody, I would have said:

'The autoantibody that does damage to your small intestine appears to be transglutaminase.'


Instead, I said:

The autoantibody that does damage to your small intestine appears to be to transglutaminase.

That you continue to fail to grasp the distinction shows that you do not understand this.
posted by jamjam at 4:31 PM on May 1, 2012


IT'S MADE OF PEOPLE
posted by Afroblanco at 4:36 PM on May 1, 2012


Oh fuck. I'm sorry. I totally missed the "to", both times. Sorry for being a butt.
posted by kagredon at 4:36 PM on May 1, 2012


Apology accepted-- and thanks for not pointing out the "was was", which might have justified ignoring the second "to" in the first place.
posted by jamjam at 4:40 PM on May 1, 2012


Kagredon, I'm perfectly fine with someone having a theory. Even if he's a cooking technologist.
All I'm asking for is being excluded from the experiment. If they are so sure that shit is benign and all kinds of awesome, they shouldn't be afraid to put that info in their menu and let paying customers decide for themselves.
posted by c13 at 4:56 PM on May 1, 2012


Even better misspelling would be filet "millions," n'est-ce pas?

The best misspelling I ever saw was on a menu in Costa Rica: Filet Moignon. I'm not even making that up.
posted by snofoam at 4:57 PM on May 1, 2012


I'm suddenly in the mood for Arby's.
posted by kimota at 5:02 PM on May 1, 2012


Kagredon, I'm perfectly fine with someone having a theory. Even if he's a cooking technologist.

Well, I didn't specifically mean Arnold, who has no theories on Celiac disease (that I am aware of or care about.) I was actually referring to the theories on the role of ATA in Celiac disease, which (IMO) look pretty promising, but are still being actively researched.

I think you maybe think I have more opinions on this than I do; I make no claim to being an expert, and I've already resolved my misunderstanding of jamjam's post with him, so I think I will politely bow out here, if that's all right with you.
posted by kagredon at 5:10 PM on May 1, 2012


Filet Moignon. I'm not even making that up.

I just googled "Moignon."

what
posted by jabberjaw at 5:21 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


So are those bacon-wrapped thing really franken-filets? I tried a couple a year or so ago and it was horrible!

I had one at IHOP. It was just OK, but I didn't really expect any better. Besides IHOP has hashbrowns which are hard to come by in New York City, and no those hashbrown patties an McDonalds dont count.
posted by jonmc at 5:22 PM on May 1, 2012


That's what you get for eating at the Hungry Heifer with Norm Peterson.
posted by NoMich at 5:28 PM on May 1, 2012


This makes sense, a flesh golem is some crazy wizard's minion.
posted by robcorr at 5:31 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eh, after 5 or 6 beers you could be eating deepfried treebark and not notice.
posted by jonmc at 5:32 PM on May 1, 2012


Is this the thread where I complain about adulterated food? Should I mention the marshmallows with wheat in them? Or that anything with "vegetable oil" in it might as well be plutonium because I don't know is there canola in it? Probably not.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:33 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best misspelling I ever saw was on a menu in Costa Rica: Filet Moignon.

For years there was a Nepalese-owned buffet across the street from my apartment that had misspelled "Vegetable Curry" as "Vege Terbal Curry" and it was pretty hilarious to watch people try to figure out how to pronounce this exotic and unknown dish.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:37 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dude, there was a Korean steam table buffet across from my old job with an item they called "Beef in Grave Sauce." I can only hope they took it from a fresh grave.
posted by jonmc at 5:40 PM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Grave Sauce.

aw man that is fantastic
posted by nathancaswell at 5:41 PM on May 1, 2012


Does the idea of gluing meat together really not creep anyone else out...?
posted by danl at 5:52 PM on May 1, 2012


would you order that $15 steak

Man, if I only got charged $15 for a steak in a restaurant these days I would expect it to be restructured from glued-together stew meat.
posted by nanojath at 5:59 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does the idea of gluing meat together really not creep anyone else out...?

Anybody else out there ever have one of your kids freak if different foods were allowed to touch each other on his or her plate? My daughter got over it by the time she was eight or nine, but it was a ridiculous pain in everyone's ass for a while. Either eat glued together meat or not, but don't be all up in our face about it.
posted by squalor at 6:05 PM on May 1, 2012


danl: Does the idea of gluing meat together really not creep anyone else out...?

No. Attaching two ore more delicious things to each other does not make that product instantly disgusting, that's a weird response.

But I also don't get the pink slime backlash. Its just sausage, like all sausage the process and uncooked product look gross. Hence the phrase 'Law and sausage are two things you do not want to see being made.'

If the result is delicious and safe, I see no problem. You have to accept that at some point your meal used to be an animal carcass, I think the squeamish ones are too far removed from the reality of eating meat. If it bothers you become a vegetarian, but don't attack one product for more efficiently using a dead animal. That's a good thing.

Circle of life etc.
posted by darkfred at 6:17 PM on May 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


The best misspelling I ever saw was on a menu in Costa Rica: Filet Moignon. I'm not even making that up.

There was an early D&D supplement that named the dreaded "Minions of Set" the "Minionions of Set," and people had fun imagining these tiny onions imbued with dark power.....
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:34 PM on May 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


But I also don't get the pink slime backlash. Its just sausage

Sausage with ammonia in it, you mean.
posted by limeonaire at 7:50 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Wikipedia article on anti-transglutaminase antibodies (ATA) has a list of ATA
Associated Conditions

Coeliac Disease. Most attention to anti-transglutaminase antibodies is given with respect to Coeliac Disease. A recent study of children published in 2007 demonstrated that the level of ATA in correlates with the scalar Marsh score for the disease in the same patient.[9] See the Coeliac wiki article for more information.

Inflammatory bowel disease. A study published in Nature in 2001 found high levels of anti-transglutaminase antibodies in Inflammatory Bowel Disease - specifically in Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative rectocolitis.[3]

Arthritis. Studies of patients with various forms of arthritis showed highly increased frequencies of antibodies against guinea pig transglutaminase, human recombinant transglutaminase and peptidylarginine deiminase type 4 (PAD4). This suggests a potential for crossreactive antibodies between anti-tTG and anti-PAD4.[10]

Juvenile diabetes and anti-tTG. Childhood (male) Type 1 diabetes (T1D) increases the risk for CD and vice versa[11] and the early signs of CD may precede T1D in many cases.[12] A search for CD in juvenile diabates patients revealed that GF diet resulted in some improvements.[13] A elevated number of diabetes patients have ATA[14] along with increased numbers of gluten-specific T-cells.

Asymptomatic ATA+. A recent screening[15] of 7550 Briton's found 87 undetected ATA+. In this study a 50% increase of ATA was associated with:

* lower bone mineral density of the hip.
* lower hemoglobin levels
* decreased weight.
* lower cholesterol
* higher blood glucose

Similar studies

* increased mortality, particularly to cancer[16]

Symptomatic ATA+

* greater impairment of neurophysiology (peripheral neuropathies and motor neuron disease.[17]
* increased inflammatory bowel symptoms(not celiac or EMA).[18]

Alcohol consumption. ATA correlated with biomarkers of alcohol consumption, proinflammatory cytokines and markers of fibrogenesis.[19]
Bon appetit.
posted by jamjam at 7:58 PM on May 1, 2012


I cannot stand when they give screen time for someone from the American ____ Institute or whatever the fuck to spew their insane, predictable shit.
posted by odinsdream at 8:05 PM on May 1, 2012


Its worth noting that AFAIK noone is disputing the ATA - Coeliacs link.

They are just saying that its not relevant for TG used in cooking.

A. Your body produces Billions of times as much every day. It is used for Clotting blood and holding cells together.

B. All the research is based on NATURAL TG production, there is correlation but not causation, and no link to ingested TG has ever been established.

C. It is destroyed by the enzymatic reaction and denatured through cooking. It cannot enter your bloodstream from food.

D. TG powder is diluted 100:1 with starch, and recommended to dilute even more before use. The actual amount you receive in your food is insignificant compared to your already huge supplies of blood born TG.

But by all means, get together and lobby to ban this so we can replace it with some untested synthetic substance. Yay progress.
posted by darkfred at 8:29 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


C addendum. I looked it up and see that TG is denatured at 103degs F. Even slightly warming your food would prevent it from ever reaching your stomach.
posted by darkfred at 8:34 PM on May 1, 2012


But by all means, get together and lobby to ban this so we can replace it with some untested synthetic substance. Yay progress.

God damn it! Don't replace my food with anything synthetic. Just cut it out of a freaking cow, cook it and serve. I'd tell you what you can do with your food tech degree, but it would get you locked up on obscenity charges in most states. We don't live in Somalia for christs sakes, and can afford to buy stuff without ground up lips and assholes mixed in.
Darkfred, saying things like pink slime is just sausage shows that you're either blathering about something you have no fucking clue about, or flat out lying. If your knowledge about how to use google search is as good as how to make sausage, I will be happy to provide some links to books and recipes on how it's done.
posted by c13 at 9:14 PM on May 1, 2012


God damn it! Don't replace my food with anything synthetic. Just cut it out of a freaking cow...

You say that like a cow isn't an excellent engine for biosynthesis.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:25 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, having antibodies against transglutaminase is a problem. Is there a solid argument that this is something other than a non-specific cross reaction against transglutaminase by a antibody raised against a totally different antigen? Because what you are arguing is on par with arguing that rheumatic fever is probably caused by eating organ meat and not Streptococcus at all.

Moreover, if you're arguing that you shouldn't be exposed to transglutaminase, you should consider that it's doubtful that one who isn't will last long enough to develop a B cell repertoire. And while it's a naturally occurring substance in meats, I've yet to hear anyone with Celiac say they can't eat meat (except on internet forums in response to this sort of fear mongering).

The list of diseases you mention associated with anti-transglutaminase is a walk in the park compared to many other autoimmune diseases (Pro-tip - don't track down pictures of some of these - I'm glad my copy of this was all line drawings.) And yet, despite the association of anti-mitochondrial antibodies with autoimmune hepatitis, I'm willing to bet the whole farm that you still eat food containing mitochondria.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:09 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I meant creepy as in Frankensteinian. Ha. It happens with words too.
posted by danl at 11:33 PM on May 1, 2012


You say that like a cow isn't an excellent engine for biosynthesis.

Oh, it most certainly is. That's why I don't want anyone other than the cow carrying out that function. As far as your other comment, I'm not sure who it's directed to. I certainly am not worried about getting Celiac disease (for baking bread it's one tablespoon of gluten minimum in my house). It's just that it seems to me that a lot of these "progressive" food preparation methods are nothing more than attempts to make chocolate out of piece of turd, and sell it at godiva's prices. Again, supposedly I live in the richest country on earth, so I don't care how efficient pink slime is or what food technician Arnold can glue together.
posted by c13 at 12:40 AM on May 2, 2012


This kind of thing happens to vegetarians too. I once bought a block of "extra firm" tofu which was actually half a block of firm tofu glued to half a block of silken tofu. Like I wouldn't notice?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:16 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Q: Are skates really used to make "imitation" scallops?
A: The long-held myth...


It's been a long time, but I remember that one of the main reasons this notion spread quickly was because one of the characters in Peter Benchley's Jaws (Hooper? that would make the most sense) stated definitively that most seafood restaurants do this. I have to admit that to this day the idea idly crosses my mind every time I eat scallops (a couple times a year at nice restaurants).
posted by aught at 5:41 AM on May 2, 2012


C addendum. I looked it up and see that TG is denatured at 103degs F. Even slightly warming your food would prevent it from ever reaching your stomach.

That's when the enzyme is denatured, but the bonds it helps to form are most likely stable and would therefore remain until you cut through them with your steak knife.

And with respect to the presence of anti-transglutaminase antibodies... that's an autoimmune phenomenon. We have transglutaminase too ya know. And while one would like to think that it's caused because industrial food inc has been using transglutaminase from pigs or something to glue together our meat for years, and this has led to a crazy rise in autoantibodies to transglutaminase, I think it's far more likely that people developed antibodies against transglutaminase as part of a larger autoimmune condition that each leads to the development of a number of autoantibodies (celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile diabetes, etc are all autoimmune diseases).

If you've ever eaten liver of any animal you've ingested lots and lots of transglutaminase. That's probably why people assumed it's safe.

This is probably a bigger issue re:deception than safety.
posted by crasiman at 8:06 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


c13: Darkfred, saying things like pink slime is just sausage shows that you're either blathering about something you have no fucking clue about, or flat out lying. If your knowledge about how to use google search is as good as how to make sausage, I will be happy to provide some links to books and recipes on how it's done.

woah. knee jerk much. You are obviously not a food person, so I will explain. Pink slime actually IS sausage. Its what used to be sold as cooked sausage or frankfurters, its been used this way for years. Your home made sausage might use prime meat but a $2.50 frankfurter would be impossible to sell in a grocery store.

While mechanical separation has become more efficient that didn't really change the meat industry. What did change the industry was the development of a sterile process for doing mechanical separation. This allowed them to sell the pink slime without cooking or further processing. Goodbye sausage hello ground beef. Part of this process is that it has to be done in a sterile ammonia atmosphere, (as does ground beef) so that the increased surface area of this product does not correlate with increased bacteria counts.
Meat is not naturally sterile on the surface, but beef is relatively sterile internally simply because the environment is inhospitable to human food borne illnesses. Grinding, or separating increases the surface area and puts the once sterile parts in contact with nonsterile parts.

Of course you and others will scream. OHH NO BUT THE AMMONIAS!
Ammonia is used to sterilize basically everything you eat. Its a safe and simple alternative to irradiation for food preservation. If you want to avoid ammonia you are going to have to stop eating all processed foods. Good luck.

Also, you are filled with ammonia anyway. and a fool.
posted by darkfred at 10:40 AM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


TLDR version:

* All meats include TG, the same stuff and in larger amounts than that is used in meat glued products. Which must be labeled as Reformed anyway, so noone is tricking you.

* All store bought baked goods and most meats use ammonia gas treatment or ammonia salts as a preservative. Pink slime is just hot dog filling sold uncooked.
posted by darkfred at 10:51 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does the idea of gluing meat together really not creep anyone else out...?

Is 'creep out' a new synonym for 'sexually arouse'? IF YES THEN YES
posted by FatherDagon at 11:57 AM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, do I want some of this. I mean fuck a turducken, think of the great, soaring meat castles I could build! The tongue-spires! The flying ham buttresses! I will OMG DOMINATE the next Maker Faire with my unstoppable cow-catecture!


[Gets out credit card; orders six sides of beef, fourteen chickens, and a huge f'ing tarp.]
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:01 PM on May 2, 2012


Metafilter: think of the great, soaring meat castles I could build!
posted by nerdinexile at 8:06 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


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