Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 March 2018

Watch: How pieces of meat are glued together to create a more valuable 'joint' of meat

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Many people turn to a ready meal for something quick and convenient to eat after a busy day at work - on average twice a week - and the roast dinner is a favourite.

But there is a process – not listed on the ingredients – that goes into creating that roast dinner that may surprise you.

Transglutaminase is an enzyme used in food manufacturing to bond – essentially glue – pieces of meat together to create a more valuable "joint" of meat.

Hilary O’Hagan-Brennan tells What Are You Eating? presenter Philip Boucher-Hayes that “transglutaminase is not an ingredient so you won’t find it listed on any of the products here because it is actually a process... It’s basically a glue.

"All meats are different sizes, different shapes, different forms so if you are in a factory setting and you are trying to create one uniform piece of a joint you are going to use that to help you create that piece of meat”.

The process creates joints that are “more valuable” to food manufacturers, she adds.

Hilary demonstrates the process and creates her own “joint” of meat before cooking it.

The result is revealed tonight on What Are You Eating? at 8.30pm on RTÉ One.

Also Read

Elsewhere in episode five of What Are You Eating? tonight... 

Philip Boucher-Hayes looks at why we are eating less and less as families and finds out how those roast dinners are not quite what they seem.

Meat, veg and potatoes were staples of the dinner table for Ireland’s baby boomers. The main meal of the day was nutritious, balanced and low on frills. Dinnertime wasn’t just about food though, it was also about family.

But following 40 years of unprecedented social change, do we even eat together anymore and have we forgotten much of what our parents knew about food?

Clondalkin butcher Michael McLoughlin tells Philip Boucher-Hayes about the cheaper meat cuts that have fallen out of fashion and shows the range of freshly prepared readymeals he now sells.

With garlic now a common ingredient in Irish kitchens, Philip meets an Irish grower who says her garlic is much more flavoursome than the Chinese garlic found everywhere on the Irish market and he visits a community that grows all its own vegetables year round.

In the food lab, Philip finds out if online reports about Chinese garlic stand up to scientific testing.

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