Monday, May 14, 2007

It's A Miracle Uncured Meats are Cured!!

When I'm craving a good turkey sandwich, I run to the store and pick up a pack of uncured turkey lunchmeat to go on my pain du jour. It's labeled and marketed as being "uncured, with no added nitrates, nitrites or msg" and so are a host of other products, such as uncured hot dogs, salami, bacon and sausages.
I just read an article from the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) that stated that natural nitrates found in celery, beets, spinach and possibly turbinado sugar and sea salt are used to process these products. Now this is where it gets interesting. Some of these natural ingredients also have nitrites and during the curing process the true amount of nitrite formed is unknown and impossible to measure because nitrite reacts quickly with meat components. This can become a safety issue if excessive concentrations of nitrites are formed, which are known to cause carcinogens. I believe that "uncured meat" manufacturers need to find a means to eliminate or control the amount of nitrites found in their products or re-label these items informing consumers that natural nitrites are present. However, I still think buying uncured meats is a better choice over the traditonal cured products. I would just recommend using them in moderation and focus more on using raw, unprocessed meat/fowl as a source of animal protein.

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