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Sodium Alginate Gels
Sodium Alginate gels are used in re-structured or re-formed food products. For example, re-structured meats can be made by taking meat pieces, binding them together and shaping them to resemble usual cuts of meat, such as nuggets, roasts, meat loaves, even steaks. The binder can be a powder of sodium alginate, calcium carbonate, lactic acid and calcium lactate. When mixed with the raw meat they form a calcium alginate gel that binds the meat pieces together. This is used for meats for human consumption, such as chicken nuggets; it has become especially useful in making loaves of meat for fresh pet food; some abattoir wastes are suitable and cheap ingredients. Up to 1 percent alginate is used. Similar principles are applied to making shrimp substitutes using alginate, proteins such as soy protein concentrate, and flavours. The mixture is extruded into a calcium chloride bath to form edible fibres which are chopped, coated with sodium alginate and shaped in a mould. Restructured fish fillets have been made using minced fish and a calcium alginate gel. Onion rings are made from dried onion powder; pimento olive fillings are made using pimento pulp. In 2001, a new line of olives launched in Spain were stuffed with flavoured pastes, such as garlic, herbs, hot pepper, lemon and cheese. Each of these is made with green manzanilla olives and an alginate-based paste containing the appropriate ingredient to provide the flavour.