Rating: Caution

Enzyme to bind proteins: Beef, poultry dairy, seafood, and other protein-rich products.
You'll never see this ingredient listed on food labels, because it appears to be used primarily by restaurant chefs. Transglutaminase's marketer (Ajinomoto) calls it "a revolutionary new way to improve existing food products or allow 'out of the box' thinking in making new food products." What it does is enable a chef to "glue" together a bunch of scraps of meat and sell it as a steak, bind bacon to meat, improve the texture of cheese, and do other tricks. Transglutaminase is a naturally occurring enzyme that is presumably safe, but used to deceive consumers. Also, because binding two pieces of food together puts into the protected center of meat or seafood any bacteria that were on the outside of a piece and, hence, easily killed in cooking. It is for that reason that we consider this ingredient, which on its own is safe, as a potential safety risk.