Meat Glue Could Become the Next Pink Slime Controversy

By Dana Shultz for

The good news is, the disgusting phenomenon known as 'pink slime' came to the public's attention several weeks ago and is now being done away with, almost completely. But the bad news? We may have another case of suspicious meat product on our hands.Could there be glue in your steaks?

Meat glue isn't like what it sounds. It isn't a thick, yellowy substance used to stick two hamburgers together. Rather, it's a white powder that's used to bond together small bits of meat to make smaller pieces look like a solid steak.

The powder is made by "taking the clotting agents out of pigs' and cows' blood and using it to clot together chunks of meat." The result is a group of small bits of meat that could pass as a filet mignon.

How it typically works is by taking small pieces of meat, sprinkling the white powder over it, and then wrapping it up to bind. It's then left to rest in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours before being unwrapped and then served as whatever cut of meat the chef fancies.

This 'bonded meat' can be sold at grocery stores, although it must be labeled as 'formed' or 'reformed' meat to pass inspection. But it's also commonly used in restaurants - unbeknownst to hungry customers - where it doesn't require any labeling or warning.

While the federal government says the meat glue itself is "generally recognized as safe," consumers aren't likely to buy it, especially after their safety blunder concerning the pink slime scandal.

Steve Steingard of the Allegency County Health Department in Pennsylvania said 'glued meat' could potentially pose as a health risk if smaller chunks of meat had been mishandled or contaminated, and then ended up in the center of a steak that was served rare. '"Glued steaks would have to be cooked, because if you ordered it rare, there's a possibility that there could be a growth on it," he said.

Restaurant owner Grainne Trainor finds the whole idea of meat glue unsettling and deceptive, and that there's also a health and sanitation quality she disagrees with. In a recent interview, she told The Boston Channel that, "Meat is something you buy at your neighborhood local butcher shop. Glue is something you buy at Home Depot. Those two words just don't belong in the same sentence."

We couldn't agree with her more.

Stayed tuned as there are certain to be more developments on this story.

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