Transglutaminase

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Transglutaminase

Postby vagreys » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:06 pm

In the FnC thread, someone posted a link to a giant FnC competition in Bournemouth. One of the teams used a 6-ft. halibut, but the other assembled a larger 'fish' from smaller fish glued together, presumably using transglutaminase meat glue. I know we've discussed meat glue, before, but does anyone besides me find this a little scary?

I'm allergic to beef. I depend on pork, poultry, fish and shellfish being what they are - not beef protein. I first learned about meat glue after eating a 'scallop' that turned out to be scallop bits held together with beef plasma protein. It nearly put me in the hospital. It came in a bag labeled "Frozen Scallops" and it never occurred to me that I had to check the label of a bag of frozen scallops for the presence of beef protein.

How does this tie in to sausage? Len Poli's site has a recipe for a coarse pork sausage that uses transglutaminase to hold the chunks of pork together. It seems like meat glue is creeping into every corner of the meat, poultry and seafood markets. Soon, I'm afraid it's going to get to the point that I'll have to produce all of my own meat products and catch my own fish to be sure that it won't put me on the floor from being cross-contaminated with beef.
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Postby DanMcG » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:43 pm

In your situation I could see where it would be very scary.
I have some that I use to play with food and make odd things out of , not to deceive people, and really wouldn't consider it for everyday things like sausage. For cured meats like a pressed ham I think gelatine works just as good.
It would seem that it would have to be listed on the label if it was in a product.
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Postby wheels » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:40 pm

I can see that a few 'high end' chefs will use it for creative purposes, but guess that its main purpose is for the fat-cats to make even more money. I don't like the idea of it, not least for the reasons Vagreys has already pointed out.

That said, given the cures etc that I use maybe I'm being hypocritical?

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Postby vagreys » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:11 pm

Dan, it is listed on the labels, but would you think to check a label that just says "Scallops" and appears to be a bag of frozen scallops, to see if it is broken/damaged scallop pieces held together with beef plasma protein? It would seem to me that the product would have to be identified as some kind of formed seafood product, rather than being marketed in a way that suggests whole scallops - like formed chicken products.

Phil, not sure I see the hypocrisy in using cures but not liking the application of transglutaminase?
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Postby wheels » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:11 am

vagreys wrote:Phil, not sure I see the hypocrisy in using cures but not liking the application of transglutaminase?


Good. I agree with you Tom, scallops should be scallops. Can I ask, were they incredibly cheap?

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Postby crustyo44 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:37 am

Hi,
I read somewhere that this meatglue is banned in France where it is manufactured.
Just a follow up on scallops.
A lot of scallops are punched out of skate flaps. A Tasmanian friend told me that down there it is common knowledge.
I buy my scallops now with "roe-on" only.
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Postby saucisson » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:19 am

That's a bit scary, because I watched the program without realising the implications of The glue they were using. It was me who mentioned the halibut in the FnC thread, I think.
I completely agree that using products from different food groups in other products needs clear labelling and looking into.
Curing is not an exact science... So it's not a sin to bin.

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Postby vagreys » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:53 am

wheels wrote:...Good. I agree with you Tom, scallops should be scallops. Can I ask, were they incredibly cheap?

About $9/lb, as I recall, about a 20% discount off market for dry sea scallops; so no, they were being sold as premium frozen scallops in a wholesale club.
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Postby vagreys » Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:22 am

crustyo44 wrote:Hi,
I read somewhere that this meatglue is banned in France where it is manufactured.

I think the EU banned the use of transglutaminase in mid-2010?
Just a follow up on scallops.
A lot of scallops are punched out of skate flaps. A Tasmanian friend told me that down there it is common knowledge.
I buy my scallops now with "roe-on" only.
Regards,
Jan.

Yep. We see them as inexpensive 'bay scallops' around here. If you know what to look for, there is no mistaking them for scallops. I did check to see if the scallop I was eating was stamped from a skate wing, but it appeared to be whole and correct.

I think my concern, at this point, is that the labeling doesn't reflect that the product - any meat product - is some kind of formed meat. I can look at something marketed as 'pork loin' and it may be a formed cylinder of several partial loins glued together with beef plasma, or center cut pork chops that are two pieces glued together. Or a chicken breast of pieces. Or a scallop. I have to check the fine print of every label to be sure it's actually whole and not glued together.
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Postby RodinBangkok » Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:17 am

If you've eaten cheese, yoghurt, surimi, or perhaps fish balls or any type of fish paste, it will most likely have eaten Transglutaminase. There are different types and are used in varying quantities depending on the product. I know they are used widely, as I do consulting in some facilities that have used them for a long time. They are classified by a type TG-A, TG-B and so on. I know some are generated by fermentation of materials other than beef, but not sure what types. I think the meat glue phenomena has brought to the surface an enzyme that has been used for quite a while in many different products. I've known about them since I first consulted for a seafood company doing surimi about 20 years ago. In the case of meat glue I suspect it is being used in very large quantities compared to what you might find in yoghurt, but I could not say for sure. In yogurt it helps keep the whey from separating.
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Postby salumi512 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:56 am

vagreys wrote:Yep. We see them as inexpensive 'bay scallops' around here.


Wow, that's crazy. I grew up in Virginia Beach. We only bought from the docks/markets so didn't run into any of that.

I wonder if I have to ask about that when buying scallops from the seafood counter at a supermarket. More reasons why I don't buy seafood if not on the coast.
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Postby jasonmolinari » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:20 pm

vagreys wrote:
crustyo44 wrote:Hi,
I read somewhere that this meatglue is banned in France where it is manufactured.

I think the EU banned the use of transglutaminase in mid-2010?
.


Incorrect. The animal based protein bonder based on Thrombin was banned, not transglutaminase enzyme which is derived from microbes.
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