Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rebuttal to Perez Hilton's Meat Glue Argument

Hi Foodies,

So I'll admit it, I read Perez Hilton's gossip blog on a regular basis. Everyone's got some vices -- mine include the Kardashians. Perez runs a number of sites, including a one about health/fitness/celebs called “FitPerez”.

There’s no denying that Perez can be quite a bully at times. In the case of one of his most recent posts, I think he needs to read up a bit more before he posts something so aggressive.

Let me explain: On May 11, Perez wrote a blog post about the food industry’s use of the protein bonding enzyme transglutaminase – blasting the product for being disgusting and the industry for keeping consumers in the dark.

Perez, you’ve got it only half right.

Transglutaminase is a protein bonding enzyme, but in and of itself, it is completely safe for consumption. In fact, chefs have been using it in molecular gastronomy for quite some time. Just ask the Food Network – transglutaminase was used in several Iron Chef America battles. The most notably example occurred in Battle Tilapia where Chef Wylie DuFresne created tilapia noodles using the enzyme. They were a hit. Judge Karine Bakhoum said, “I love the texture. I would totally eat a big bowl of this. The tilapia in the dish, to me, is unique, interesting and fascinating.” (The link to her saying this is here: Skip to 3:57 for the full presentation of his dish.)

The issue with transglutaminase is not that it, in and of itself, is dangerous. Rather, the issue is an ethical and truth in disclosure dilemma when meat suppliers choose to use the enzyme to bond scraps together – and then charge customers the same price as the quality choice cuts of meat. 

In a society where a few harsh words posted online can bring down corporations, perhaps we, the bloggers, should all tread a little lighter when writing such condemning posts. 


  1. I don't read perez hilton, but I like this post. Too often people ignorantly get mad at the science and don't focus on the real issue. People don't realize that sometimes science can make things better. Not everything made in a lab is poison for your body. (Yay food science =P)

    And yes, the food producers need to be honest about when they're using this product. Don't be mad at the researchers.. be mad at the companies who are unjustly using science to make a buck. I think that they should be able to use these things, but that it needs to be on the label. Transparency is always important. Especially in food.

  2. Great post. Blogs, media of all kinds, can make or break a person or thing in a minute. Good or bad? The problem is that people that want to believe it will, and people that don't do further research on their own, won't ever hear the real truth when it is brought forward. Crazy days!