Read the article, the whole article, and you'll probably be as confused as I am!
Still can't find the USDA stuff, but if there's a link, please let me know?
My conclusion, and this is "My Opinion", Vegetables contain more nitrates than cured meat.
We need to go back to natural farming and let the whole world starve!
Leave My Bacon Alone!
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.
A review of all scientific literature on nitrite by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that nitrite does not directly harm us in any way. All this talk about the danger of nitrite in our meats pales in comparison with the amounts of Nitrates that are found in vegetables that we consume every day. The Nitrates get to them from the fertilizers which are used in agriculture. Don’t blame sausages for the Nitrates you consume, blame the farmer. It is more dangerous to one’s health to eat vegetables on a regular basis than a sausage.