Food Labeling of Nitrates or Nitrites

Some of my favorite foods contain nitrates or nitrites. Both are used as meat preservatives and are found in pepperoni, salami, bacon, hot dogs and luncheon meats. They have been linked to cancer, heart disease and diabetes when consumed in excessive amounts. We cannot forget that these foods are also high in sodium and saturated fats.

As you know, my blog is about researching and preparing meals that are delicious, simple and healthy. When I discovered an “uncured” pepperoni that contained no added synthetic nitrates or nitrites, I was so excited. Well, today in my research, I discovered something that is quite alarming. While on the internet, I came across the article “What’s Inside the Bun?” by William Neuman, New York Times, July 1, 2011. I learned that “companies that label their products natural or organic must use natural sources of the preservatives.” The natural sources are in the form of celery, juice or powder, which are high in nitrates. The bottom line is the natural or organic “uncured” meats products may contain higher levels of nitrites or nitrates than their “cured” counterparts! The United States Department of Agriculture must improve on their food labeling regulations! Thank goodness I found this article!

I will continue to use on occasion the “uncured” pepperoni on my pizza, because of the humane treatment of animals and no antibiotics used; but I will be making my vegetarian version a lot more!


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