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Beef producers dispute ‘Meat Glue’ safety allegations

May 09, 2012
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Beef producers said the depiction of meat glue by consumer activists is unfair and the industry’s practice of using transglutaminase to bind pieces of meat into a single cut is safe, reports Bloomberg.

The American Meat Institute, a Washington-based trade group that includes Cargill Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc, released information showing how transglutaminase is used in dairy, seafood and baked goods as well as in beef for texture or to bind cuts together.

Transglutaminase is an enzyme sold for almost two decades and has inaccurately been nicknamed meat glue for “shock appeal,” the group said yesterday in a statement.

The industry is trying to gain control of the debate over transglutaminase after a public backlash earlier this year over ammonia-treated beef scraps that consumer activists dubbed “pink slime” led to lost business for Beef Products Inc. and other companies.

California State Senator Ted Lieu, a Democrat, last week called for a U.S. Agriculture Department investigation into transglutaminase because of potential contamination risks.

Packaged meat products made with transglutaminase must be labeled as formed or reformed, the American Meat Institute said. The group said it’s unaware of any food safety issues.

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