Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bringing Home the Bacon

I love bacon. Who doesn't love bacon? But I have been concerned about bacon in recent years because of all the hoo-ha about nitrates. As I understand it (but I'm no scientist), nitrates are salts (NO3) used as preservatives and to lend color to cured meats. Once ingested, they are converted by the gastric system to nitrites. The nitrites then react with amino acids and form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Whew! Chemistry lesson over.

Anyway, I've been pleased to see bacon showing up in the grocery stories marked "nitrate free" and "naturally cured." I've even bought some sugar-free, nitrate-free stuff a couple of times.

So it was interesting to read this article by a food industry executive about how -- what a surprise! -- consumers are once again being misled by loopholes in packaging requirements.

Turns out if the nitrates are not added directly to the food in question, but secondarily in another ingredient, they do not "count" as far as food labeling is concerned. So something can claim to be "nitrate free" yet still contain nitrates.

So, to heck with it. I'll just eat my occasional piece of bacon.

No comments:

Post a Comment