N is for Nitrates and Nitrites (in processed meats)

Ok… before you skip this post because it sounds like a       Chemistry 101 lesson, please STOP and take a moment to read it, especially if you or your child’s diet contains:

  • lunch meat
  • hot dogs
  • sausage
  • pepperoni
  • bacon

Nitrates and Nitrites (in the form of Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite) have been used in the processed food world for many years to preserve meats and meat products.

According to Wikipedia: “Under certain conditions, especially during cooking, nitrites in meat can react with degradation products of amino acids, forming nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens

YIKES! Did that say carcinogens…


Have no fear! There are healthier alternatives, and NO you do not need to ditch the hot dogs. Thanks to some socially responsible companies there are:  NO added NITRATE AND NITRITE options…but you have to read the LABEL, ’cause not all HOT DOGS are created equal!

Some brands we have found to be not only kid-friendly but NITRATE/NITRITE free are:

Applegate Farms we like their breakfast sausage and organic turkey dogs

Hormel NATURAL choice   (lunch meat and pepperoni!)

Wellshire Farms (sausage and lunch meats)

Many of these “uncured” meat products (Which they are required by the USDA to put if they DON’T USE Sodium nitrate in the preserving process) do contain natural nitrite in the form of Celery juice, however it appears that Mother Nature also added some vitamin C (and other vitamins) that help to prevent the formation of these nitrosamines (according to this web site).

In our house, we have been on a quest for a while now to reduce the chemicals and baby step our way to a bit healthier eating, and while lunch meat and hot dogs and sausage are all still processed meats, finding some nitrate/nitrite free ones is a baby step in the right direction! Tune in next year when maybe I will have taken enough “baby steps” to begin making my own sausage… but until then…


About Empowered Advocacy

www.EmpoweredAdvocacy.com Pediatric Patient Advocate
This entry was posted in ABC's, Baby Step, Meat, Organic. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to N is for Nitrates and Nitrites (in processed meats)

  1. Arada says:

    Thanks to your blog, I happened to notice that Oscar Meyer makes nitrate/nitrite free turkey hot dogs during my last shopping run in to Randalls. I usually don’t shop there but they were having a sale.

    • Baby(food)Steps says:

      Thanks Arada for the tip!
      I did just see that Oscar Meyer ALSO has a Nitrate FREE lunch meat too! but the packaging looks VERY similar to the one with Nitrates…so be sure to read the INGREDIENTS list!

  2. Pingback: 11 of 50 Babysteps- Hot Dogs | Taking Baby{food}Steps…

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