A lot of people eat meat at least occasionally as it contains a lot of nutrients that the body needs for functioning. But there is also a more controversial side of the meat that most of the people don’t know. People tend to choose the meat that looks the best, so in the industry, there is a trend to add a pink slime meat glue enzyme that helps to achieve this effect.
What is meat glue?
This is an enzyme. Its full name is microbial transglutaminase (Mtg) and it “is produced from a bacterial strain, Streptoverticillium.” Nowadays this substance is made from “the blood plasma of cows or pigs.”1 Mtg can be sprinkled on any meat, including fish. On it, the substance forms a protein cross-links (pink slime) which function is to bind small scraps of meat together. Visually it is not possible even to tell if the meat is real or fake.
Where can you find meat glue?
- Meat (including hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, sushi, etc.)
- Dairy products (yogurt, ice cream, creams, tofu, cheese, dressings, etc.)
- Edible films
- Starches (e.g., baked goods like for bread to improve its texture and volume; pasta, creams, cereals, gluten free processed foods)
Mtg is a great source for food manufacturers to make food look more attractive and appealing so that the customers would buy it. This food is also usually marketed as prime and top quality. There is no regulation that would require informing customers if the product has the pink slime. Sometimes on the labels is possible to find written something like “formed from pieces of whole muscle meat” or “reformed from a single cut.”
Health problems from meat glue
Mtg is especially harmful to those who have gluten sensitivity, and celiac consumers as their immune system perceive this substance as gluten.
- Increase the risk of developing or flaring up celiac disease
- Gluten inflammation
- Leaky gut as Mtg causes changes in proteins it binds. This process can increase the tight junction leakage in the gut.
- Sustainability to infections for people with celiac disease as meat glue breaks down the gut’s protective barriers.
Research show also that unhealthy meat “contribute to colon cancer, bladder cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer and diabetes by more than 50% in most cases.” If you want to find out more about the positive side of having a good gluten-free diet, you can read about how gluten-free diet can affect your weight.
It is important for people to understand the harm of glue meat and where to find it. Board certified nutrition consultant Chen Ben Asher suggests to choose products that are local, originally raised and animals are fed by grass. The self-made meal will always be healthier than choosing any processed gluten-free products. It is especially important for those with health problems or being on the gluten-free diet not to risk with food and base your assumptions on its looks or labels!
 Kieliszek, M. and Misiewicz, A. (2013). Microbial transglutaminase and its application in the food industry. A review. Folia Microbiol. 59, 241-25
 Is Meat Glute Sabotaging Your Gluten Free Diet Improvements? Accessed from: https://www.glutenfreesociety.org/meat-glue-sabotaging-gluten-free-diet-improvements/?inf_contact_key=c86219b512b482430c1db71f6e5c08058e40f7ab85070bccb15fe5eaa8d0eb21
 Meat Glue: What is it and what you should know. (2016). Accessed from: https://delishably.com/food-industry/Meat-Glue-What-It-Is-And-What-You-Should-%20Know