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Recognizing products

Since animal proteins and enzymes like fibrinogen and thrombin are flavourless and colourless, and occur naturally in meat, these substances cannot be traced in combined meat.
However, combined and formed meat products can generally be recognized, for instance by their identical or extraordinary shapes.

The original meat structure of some combined meat products is still clearly visible. This is typically the case if the meat has been combined using fibrinogen and thrombin. In that case, the meat will retain the structure of the original meat, and it will be obvious that these products have been combined from different (relatively large) pieces of meat.

On the label or the packaging

Sometimes it is hard to tell whether a meat product is reconstituted, but this information can be found on the label, or on the packaging. The producers of combined meat products state on the packaging that a product has been combined, and/or how this was done. At present, these products bear different labelling information. For example, 'added beef or pork protein' or 'combined using thrombin and fibrinogen' (or fibrin). Sometimes, the product will be labelled as a bonded and/or formed product. The designation ‘bonding agent: (beef) protein or (pork) protein’ also occurs. A more recently used, clear labelling statement is ‘recombined from pieces of meat’. The European Commission is working on legislation for the entire European Union so that consumers can find clear, uniform, and easy-to-understand information on the packaging.