No Nitrite Smoked Meats

We went to do our “civic duty” today and helped clean up a city park to get it ready for the summer. After completing the job we were invited for a hot dog and potato chip lunch which was donated by a local business. As a “healthy” gesture they served us the usually much higher priced, natural “No Nitrite and No Nitrate Hot Dogs”.

They were very good tasting hot dogs and after the work we all did they tasted even better.

Now, let’s mention the Sodium Nitrite scare of the late seventies early eighties in the last century which linked nitrite to cancer. It made front page news all over and was rescinded in an article on page 5 of the same paper a couple of years later with this little known fact, that they fed the rats the equivalent amount of nitrites which a human would consume by eating 40 pounds of bacon per day!

As the use of sodium nitrite became restricted by law during that time the processors were and still are only allowed to use 4 ounces of pink cure per 100 pounds of meat.

Pink Cure is a mixture of not more than 6% of nitrite and 94% sodium chloride (regular salt) with a few drops of food coloring added to make it pink.

Adding this little bit of nitrite makes the processing procedure safer, gives lean meat the nice “pink” color and extends shelf life.

Now, back to the “All natural Dogs”, how do they accomplish the three points mentioned in the previous paragraph. It would need nitrites for that, guess what they add celery based juice and powder to do the trick, as they contain, like many leafy green and root vegetables, “naturally” occurring nitrites.

Some lab results actually came back with a higher nitrite content in these “No Nitrite” Smoked Meats, than you find in the old fashioned  “cured” products.

The bottom line here is the question, is it worth to you to spend the extra money? This you have to answer yourself!

For myself, I rather check on the ingredient label the amount of “sugars” and fillers used and buy accordingly. To see my article on that subject click here.

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