First off....Welcome to the forums, Pyro50
Originally Posted by Pyro50
Been reading the Bacon cure discussions and there is a wealth of informative posts out there, thanks guys.
One thing I couldn't find (forgive me if i missed it) is the logic behind the USDA's guideline against Nitrates in bacon (or "anything fried" as someone put it).
Is it carcinogenic(or more so than the other cures)? Or is there a greater risk for bacteria growth if used incorrectly? Or????????
I don't want to start the debate of one vs. the other again here, so.......JUST THE FACTS MA'AM!!!
Ok just the fact's;
This is from the Marianski's book "Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages".
Nitrate Safety Concerns
"There has been much concern over the consumption of Nitrates by the general public. Studies have shown that when nitrites combine with by-products of protein (amines in the stomach), that leads to the formation of nitrosamines which are carcinogenic (cancer causing) in laboratory animals. There was also a link that when Nitrates were used to cure bacon and the latter one was fried until crispy, it helped to create nitrosamines. In order to accomplish that the required temperatures had to be in the 600° F (315° C) range. Most meats are smoked and cooked well below 200° F (93° C) so they are not affected. Those findings started a lot of unnecessary panic in the 1970’s about the harmful effects of nitrates on our health. Millions of dollars were spent, a lot of research was done, many researchers had spent long sleepless nights seeking fame and glory, but no evidence was found that when Nitrates are used within the established limits they can pose any danger to our health."
Basically I think the USDA's issue with nitrate is that when you have nitrate in a short term cure it might not be converted to nitrite and then to nitric oxide since it's dependent on bacteria to make the conversion and there's a good chance that when you get around to frying that bacon it might still have residual amounts of nitrate that could form nitrosamines that could cause cancer.
Are they right to forbid it's use in commercial meat processing. Sure, The USDA always plays it safe with our food and with the use of cure accelerators now a days a meat plant can pump out a cured belly in a matter of hours so there is no call for the nitrate.
Is it safe to use at home.........LOL no comment.......
We here at SMF try to use the USDA's guideline as our reference for safety, so if it says no nitrates in the bacon then that's what some of use preach especially to the newbies. once you understand the process you can be you own judge.