In March, Australian TV show Today Tonight did a story on a supposed meat glue scandal. Transglutaminase, known as Activa in the culinary world, is a blood-clotting enzyme being used to “glue” small scraps of meat into what looks like prime cuts to sell for a high price. Pork, lamb, fish and chicken are all being used in combination with meat glue to create these high-priced cuts, and apparently they’re hard to tell apart from the genuine thing.
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So what’s the big problem, aside from the fact that you are paying top dollar for a faux product? If you cook your meat rare, you may have a higher chance of getting food poisoning; however, as long as sanitary measures are kept this shouldn’t be an issue.
What’s the best way to stay away from meat glue and get a nice fresh cut? Know the source. Eat at restaurants that buy local sourced meats and purchase your own from your local rancher—be familiar his animal-raising practices (grass-fed and finished, hormone/steroid/antibiotic-free, etc) and arrange to tour their facility. Farmers markets are a great place to start your search.