• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Meat glue' approval draws criticism

TT/The Local · 10 Feb 2010, 10:07

Published: 10 Feb 2010 10:07 GMT+01:00

"We do not want this at all - it is meat make-up," said Jan Bertoft at the Swedish Consumer's Association (Sveriges Konsumenter).

Thrombin is a coagulation protein which together with the fibrous protein fibrin can be used to develop a "meat glue" enzyme that can be used for sticking together different pieces of meat.

EU countries voted to approve the use of the enzyme on Monday.

Despite clear labelling of meat products, there remains a concern that consumers will be fooled as it is not clear from the appearance of the product whether it is constructed from different pieces of meat or not.

The additive can for example be used to put together small parts of pork tenderloin to make the product look like a whole fillet.

"The problem is that it looks like real meat. It is the dishonesty in it that makes us think that it is not okay," Bertoft said.

The approval of thrombin has also come in for criticism from some Swedish politicians.

"To use Thrombin in meat is a way of misleading consumers, to present something as better than it actually is," said Åsa Westlund, a Social Democrat MEP.

Westlund has been involved in the process to develop new EU legislation covering food additives which will come into force in the beginning of next year.

"If it had been in force today, then this would not have been allowed. That is my view," she said.

But Gunilla Henrysdotter at the Swedish National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket) argues that it is not for certain that the new legislation would have rendered thrombin illegal.

"It would be approved in the future as well," she said.

The decision to approve thrombin was taken by a Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) on Monday. One country voted against and one abstained. All the other countries, including Sweden, voted in favour.

The most important issue raised by Sweden was the proper labelling of products containing thrombin, according to Evelyn Jansson-Elfberg at the Food Administration.

"There is no danger in eating it, but the risk is that the customer will pay an excessively high price. It is the misleading aspect of it all that we have reacted against," she said.

Story continues below…

Sweden, and several other countries, have thus argued that thrombin should be classed as a food additive instead of a processing aid.

This line of reasoning was accepted and means that thrombin will only be able to be used in products in which its content its clearly declared.

The products will read "composite meat product."

Thrombin can be made from blood taken from either cows or pigs, and this information must also be clearly shown.

Products containing thrombin will not however be approved for use in commercial kitchens.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

10:57 February 10, 2010 by byke
Yuck !
11:47 February 10, 2010 by Renfeh Hguh
Ok, if "meat glue" has not been legal to use until now, then how the hell do they make the so called "meat" that all the kebab shops in Sweden use on their spits? It looks like a big tube of spam and nothing like real meat.

I guess it must be compacted leftover rubbish.

I miss seeing real meat rotating around a spit.

The quality of food in Sweden is pretty poor unless you go to top restarunts or the upmarket grocers or butchers. The last thing we need is more cr@p food at Ica, Konsum et all.
11:50 February 10, 2010 by Mb 65
There is no danger in eating it. How do they know when most probably it has only been tested on rats. They need to get rid of the EU all they do is make stupid laws and invent anything that will bring in more tax. How much are these company's giving the EU to allow all these additives to be used. Look what they have done to the economy of Europe. I cannot believe that Sweden voted for this.
12:13 February 10, 2010 by V8farty
I've been known to stick a sausage to a couple of scotch eggs. - Just for a laugh like...
12:37 February 10, 2010 by flintis
Mb65 I like that, save billions & scrap the EU, get rid of all those has been politicians, morons and hangers on in Brussels & Strasbourg.
13:10 February 10, 2010 by Bensonradar
"Products containing thrombin will not however be approved for use in commercial kitchens."

Does this mean it is banned in restaurants?
13:57 February 10, 2010 by calebian22
"composite meat product"

mmmmm delicious!
14:07 February 10, 2010 by byke
Sounds like pedigree chum
14:36 February 10, 2010 by Jenta
lol @V8farty, you smutty perv!
15:35 February 10, 2010 by Puffin
The idea that it is to be banned in restaurants and will be clearly marked - but how would we ever know given the recent food labelling scandals?

It sounds like this decision will make it legal to con the consumer into paying 100s of kronor for a 'fillet' made of meat scraps that before this law would have been sold cheaply as minced meat
15:59 February 10, 2010 by McChatter
Who's going to make the biggest Swedish meatball then? No entries under 100 kg.! LOL
16:10 February 10, 2010 by ATT
Like our meat was not artifitual enough!

In you are intersted in this topic go to fora.tv and check: Michael Pollan on Food Rules: An Eater's Manual.

Also interesting the google talk by Daphne Miller on her book called the jungle effect.
16:14 February 10, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
"To use Thrombin in meat is a way of misleading consumers, to present something as better than it actually is," said Åsa Westlund, a Social Democrat MEP.

Asa, sadly, Sweden is not known as the authority on quality meat, so therefore assigning your "grades" of quality is really a nonissue on a broader scale. Enjoy your sliced up worn out dairy cow steak.
03:38 February 11, 2010 by Davey-jo
So they sweep the butchery floor and take all the bits to a large pot and throw in some thrombin and out comes a Mcdonalds with fries to go ...;}
04:02 February 11, 2010 by soultraveler3
This sounds so disgusting. /yuck!

Sweden doesn't have the greatest meat in most store anyways. Glued together meat is wrong on so many levels. :(

I'm glad we have a local meat farmer here who runs his own organic butcher shop.
09:41 February 11, 2010 by krigeren
This confirms it. The only meat I will eat now is what I kill. When my freezer is empty I go vegetarian until next hunting season.
11:16 February 11, 2010 by Audrian
Why is it necessary to glue meat pieces. Probably to make meat producers to charge higher. I think Money is written all over this regulation. This is what I think the public should demand>

(1) The package containing glued meat should be shown show in big lebels that the meat is glued; and

(2) consumers henceforth boycott glued meat.
11:29 February 11, 2010 by Tennin
Yum yum all natural meat glue, nothing like buying a piece of steak or fläskfilet that used to be just scrap meat chunks. Mmmm Mmmm good. I wonder if we get to pay the same high prices for the glued meat steaks as the normal soild whole chunk of steak?
12:49 February 11, 2010 by glamshek
Let them use it and kill the people by use of it. They are not interested in people's health. All they see is 'money' , this materialistic society. Ah
18:54 February 11, 2010 by free range cheese
It can't be any worse than lutefisk.
07:47 February 12, 2010 by karex
@geflefrequentflyer

Low quality meat in Sweden? And just what are you comparing the Sweidish meat to? If you are comparing to American beef, I can agree with you on the flavor side, but not on the health and nutrition aspect. They pump so much hormones to fatten up the cattle in the US that the people who eat the beef end up being obese as a result. I have no scientific proof, but am 100% convinced that the American obesity epidemic (yes I consider obesity an epidemic in the US) is caused by the unseen crap they add while processing their food and not so much bad eating habits as many people like to think. Just cook a pound of ground beef in the US and count the number of times you have to drain the floating fat out of it before you can add the remaining ingredients...

You are what you eat. What effect is this glue thing going to have on our metabolism?

And how in the world do they propose to enforce the "not allowed in restaurants" rule? Will they place a kitchen marshal inside each establishment? Or are the politicians naive enough to assume that restaurant owners won't pass jigsaw-puzzled beef off as tenderloin to make a nifty profit?
13:06 February 12, 2010 by Audrian
Where did this stupid idea came from? Is it possible to know what type of meat is glued together to cheat consumer into buying undesirable product? I smell evil here? we were told cigartatee had no side effect for several decades. I think consumers should boycottee foodstores that sell glued meat.
17:50 February 12, 2010 by ThureWallenberg
Swedish meat is disgusting enough already. Sales are rule through an oligapole which sells rubbish at high prices.

I eat Swedish meat as seldom as possible. They have a meat sludge which is spiced up and called falukorv. No wonder the Swedes look like bean poles.
06:13 February 13, 2010 by Nordicreb
@karex: I think what geflefrequentflyer is referring to is that Swedish beef comes from dairy cows, while U.S. beef comes from real beef cattle. The difference in texture and flavor is distinct.

The hormone problem you mention is big and something that the U.S. still needs to address. If you can afford it, though, there are plenty of cattle farms over here that sell non-hormone treated meat.
09:39 February 13, 2010 by johnnyrebel
Just shut up and eat.
09:49 February 13, 2010 by glamshek
Lol Jonny why do you want to shut people up for this kind of meat to be eaten?
Today's headlines
Swedish police fear serial rapist on loose in Malmö
The attacker is thought to be in his mid-twenties and had been seen riding his bike in the area prior to the incident. Photo:TT

The rape of a 14-year-old girl in Malmö has led police to conjecture that there may be a serial rapist operating in the southern Swedish city.

Stockholm Pokémon hunter impaled on metal fence spike
Another Swede playing Pokémon Go in Stockholm. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

He tried to climb a fence to find more Pokémon.

Video
When Alicia Vikander taught us to put our pen in the bottle
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander and US talkshow host Jimmy Fallon. Photo: Tonight Show/NBC/Screenshot

We're not even sure if that's a euphemism or not.

Muslim man fired for not shaking women's hands
File photo of people shaking hands. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

A man is suing a local council in Sweden after he lost his job for refusing to shake hands with female colleagues.

Swedish bus driver who hit asylum seeker: 'I'm not racist'
The story has grabbed global headlines. Photo: Nobina

A Swedish bus driver caught on camera beating and kicking an asylum seeker has for the first time spoken to media.

Stay out, the water's filthy! Germs ruin Swedes' swims
Seagulls only.

Fancy a dip? If so, you might want to keep your mouth shut.

Man kicked off flight from Sweden over 'Isis tattoo'
A Norwegian plane at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

A flight from Stockholm was delayed on Thursday after it was claimed that one of the passengers had an Isis flag tattooed on his arm.

Homes
In pictures: Are Swedes falling in love with colour at last?
What happened to the Swedish greyscale? Photo: Linda Åhman

Antonia Wiklund of Houzz.se investigates why the Swedes are abandoning their sleek and clean interior design for vibrant colours.

The Local Recipes
How to make Swedish cold poached salmon
Cold poached salmon. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Poached salmon is a Swedish summer classic. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local.

Property
This castle: yours for the price of a tiny flat
Hägerstads Castle: a tumultuous history. Photo: Skeppsholmen Sotheby's International Realty.

It has turrets, is set on a lake and is just 2 hours from Stockholm. So why's it so cheap?

Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Blog updates

14 July

Boris Johnson: why Britain’s new foreign minister is cordially loathed (Globally Local) »

"There are lots of things to say about Boris Johnson, Britain’s new foreign secretary. He is…" READ »

 

11 July

Swedish quizzes (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I have created some quizzes you can take online to test your Swedish skills. Here…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
National
Swede's fury at Daily Mail's Bråvalla 'lies'
Gallery
People-watching: July 8th-10th
National
Sweden and Denmark trolled each other on Twitter and it's hilarious
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
National
ANALYSIS: Why Swedes are talking more about immigration than before
National
Watch Icelanders cheer their Swedish hero coach
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,357
jobs available