Most of you remember 'pink slime' don't you? That nasty little recipe that was being used by many fast food restaurants and passed off as straight up beef to us ignorant folk?
Well, there's another very popular and equally anonymous food product ingredient, "meat glue," that you should know about.
It isn't made with anything as offensive as ammonia (as is pink slime). Meat glue is a bonding agent made from clotting cells in pig and cow blood. Some is produced by cultivating bacteria. Meat glue is used to make less than stellar bits bond together and form one, more attractive piece of meat. Companies sprinkle the white powder onto scraps, wrap the entire mess in plastic, and refrigerate it for a few hours -- what comes out looks like one nice, solid tenderloin. Voíla! Instant steaks...or chicken breasts...or fish.
Meat glue is used to make the unnatural look natural. We all know that there is really no such thing as a boneless wing or boneless rib. That tasty little morsel might be made from scraps that were glued together.
Its use was banned across the European Union last year and is mostly known about due to an Australian video that went viral, shown here:
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Besides the fact that we should know whether we are being served an authentic prime filet or a bunch of scraps glued together, some people really need to know: vegans and vegetarians. The stuff is used in such products as tofu and yogurt. If you've dedicated your life to being meat-free, how much would it upset you to find out that your tofu burger had pig's blood in it? Same goes for Jews and Muslims, who don't eat pork for religious reasons.
This isn't happening only in restaurants. Our local supermarkets are selling this stuff too. It's possible the roast beef, ham, bologna, and pastrami that you're buying from the Publix deli is made with meat glue.
I appreciate when readers send me stuff (thanks for that copy of Tomatoland!), but the more I learn about the food industry, the more I want to move to the Redland and grow my own...everything.