What are they?
- Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are two closely related chemicals used for centuries to preserve meat.
- Often found in cured meats including hot dogs, sausages, bologna, ham, bacon and deli meat. It is also found in pepperoni, corned beef, salami and canned meats. My favorite deli meats use nitrites -- Boar's Head Brand is kind enough to have their nitrite rebuttal posted online if you want to check out their stance (and the American Meat Institute).
- When nitrite combines with compounds called secondary amines, it forms nitrosamines, potential cancer-causing chemicals. The chemical reaction occurs most readily at the high temperatures of frying. Nitrite has long been suspected as being a cause of stomach cancer.
- Here is a good article, http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/f-w00/nitrosamine.html
- You can find alternatives...and since it may not feel like Christmas morning without bacon and eggs...
But, for now, our purchasing dollars can be spent silently driving demand and this influence will steer the market into offering healthy alternatives. Eat well and shop smart.