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FSIS

Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Safety of Transglutaminase Enzyme (TG enzyme)

 

What is Transglutaminase?
Transglutaminase is an enzyme approved for use as a binder to form smaller cuts of meat into a larger serving of meat. It is a natural substance derived from fermented bacteria, a non-toxigenic and non-pathogenic strain of the organism Streptoverticillium mobaraense, and it is often used in a blend of binders to form a bond between meat and poultry proteins, holding smaller pieces together.

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Is it safe?
Yes, TG enzyme is a food binder that has been used in meat and poultry products for over 10 years. It was determined to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in (1998) for use to improve texture and cooking yields in various standardized meat and poultry products and as a protein cross-linking agent to fabricate or reform cuts of meat.

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How would a consumer know if they purchased a product that has been processed with TG enzyme?
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection (FSIS) is responsible for regulating the labeling of meat, poultry, and egg products to protect consumers from misbranded products.

Products formed from pieces of whole muscle meat, or that have been reformed from a single cut, must disclose this fact on their label, as part of the product name, e.g., "Formed Beef Tenderloin" or "Formed Turkey Thigh Roast." The enzyme must also be listed in the product ingredient statement along with any other ingredients used in the product formulation. TG enzyme is not considered a processing aid that would be exempt from labeling. There are no exemptions to the USDA's mandatory labeling requirement for this product.

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What is the safe temperature to cook meat or poultry formed with TG enzyme?
Cook all raw steaks, chops and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures. Cook all poultry, including ground, to 165 °F. Cook all ground meats and meat mixtures, such as meat loaf, to 160 °F.

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How would a consumer know if a restaurant used a meat binder to form steaks?
A consumer should ask the restaurant wait staff to find out if a menu item is a formed or re-formed product. Foodservice operators have guidance on how to prepare a non-intact product, such as a formed roast or steak, based on the Food Code, which is managed by FDA and enforced by State and local jurisdictions based on whether and how the State or local laws adopt the most recent version of the Food Code (2009).

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Does FSIS have jurisdiction over restaurants and food service establishments?
FSIS generally defers to the health department of the State, city, or county to inspect foodservice establishments (restaurants, cafeterias and grocery stores). Each State makes its own rules, often based on FDA's retail model Food Code. If a consumer believes a restaurant is misleading or misrepresenting a product that is formed, they should first contact their local health department.

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What should consumers do to handle and prepare all raw meat and poultry safely?
Proper handling after purchase and proper cooking can help you enjoy a safe product.

CLEAN. Wash hands and surfaces often.

SEPARATE. Do not let raw meat or poultry or their juices touch other foods.

COOK. Cook all raw steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures. Cook all ground meats and meat mixtures, such as meat loaf, to 160 °F. Cook all poultry, including ground to 165 °F.

CHILL. Refrigerate meat and poultry promptly.

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Last Modified Aug 09, 2013