Meat glue is made of the enzyme transglutaminase. This enzyme helps proteins connect to each other. When used in foods, it is referred to by its brand name, Activa. Activa is used to form small pieces of meat into one larger piece. It can also be used to improve the texture of some meat and non-meat foods, specifically sausages, cheeses, tofu, and chicken nuggets.
Meat glue is legal in all fifty U.S. states. It has been approved for use by both the USDA and FDA. The USDA requires that all meat, poultry, and egg products that use meat glue indicate it on their label. This can be done without naming the enzyme fully. A label may say “enzyme” or “TG enzyme.” It could also be presented as “formed” or “reformed” meat on the packaging.
Non-meat products that use meat glue do not have the same labeling requirements. This may require the consumer to contact the product’s manufacturer to find out if transglutaminase was used.
While less than 0.02 percent of the meat consumed each year contains the enzyme, there are still concerns from some consumers. The biggest concern is the risk of E. Coli contamination. Because small pieces of meat could bacteria before they are glued together, there is a higher chance of bacterial growth that could lead to food poisoning.
The concern about food poisoning continues when the food is prepared as well. It is thought that meat glue can Mae a product harder to properly cook to the correct temperatures. This too can contribute to foodborne illness in those who consume the product. Because of these concerns, Activa is banned in the EU. Meat glue can not be used in food products in these countries.
There is also concern that people with gluten sensitivity, Celiac disease, or other autoimmune disorders should avoid transglutaminase. The enzyme may be able to increase the allergic load inside the body and cause serious problems for those with existing conditions that affect the immune system.
Meat Glue Legal