Favorite

The filet mignon deception 

LowDown

If you're one who enjoys a steak dinner now and again, let me ask you this question:

Do you prefer it with a nice sauce, a side of garlicky spinach — or maybe some transglutaminase?

Trans-what-did-he-say?

Transglutaminase is an enzyme made by the fermentation of bacteria and added to meat pieces to make them stick together.

Yes, "meat glue" — it's what's for dinner!

This is yet another dandy product from industrialized food purveyors that keep inventing new and innovative ways to mess with our dinner for their own fun and profit.

Right about now, you're probably asking yourself: "Why do they need to glue meat together?"

Glad you asked.

It's so the industry can take cheap chunks of beef and form them into what appears to be a pricey steak. For example, that filet mignon you ordered at the Slaphappy Steakhouse chain recently — was it steak ... or was it transglutaminase?

By liberally dusting meat pieces with transglutaminase powder, squishing them into filet mignon-shaped molds, adding a bit of pressure to bond the pieces, and chilling them — voila, four-bucks-a-pound stew meat looks like a $25-a-pound filet mignon!

While meat glue is widely used, corporations peddling molded meat are not eager to let us consumers in on their little secret.

Well, sniffs the meat industry's lobbying group, they have to list transglutaminase on the ingredient label and stamp the package as "formed" or "reformed" meat.

How honest! Except that most of these glued steaks are peddled as filet mignon through high-volume restaurants, hotels, cafeterias and banquet halls — where unwitting customers never see the original package or the ingredient label.

This is why we should support truth-in-menu laws. Make them say "reformed and glued" filet mignon right on the menu. That simple step lets us decide if we really want to eat the item.

Consumers should have the right to know ... and choose.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.

  • You're probably asking yourself: 'Why do they need to glue meat together?'

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