Sodium Nitrate and Nitrite

Sodium nitrate and nitrite are often found in cured meats (deli meats, bacon, hot dogs, sausage).  This helps preserve color and shelf-life. It also does inhibit the growth of bacteria that causes botulism. However, refrigeration also inhibits the growth of bacteria (I guess some companies haven’t heard that yet). Sodium nitrite is believed to play a role in the development of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. If you’ve ever been pregnant, this is exactly why you were told to avoid hot dogs and deli meats. Infants and children are also advised to stay away from products with sodium nitrate/nitrite. Many more companies are doing away with this additive, so it is possible to find cured meats without it. At Publix, you can find two of my favorites- Applegate Farms and Al fresco.

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