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Be cautious when relying on info on the USDA/FSIS website......

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This is a perfect example of why it's important to fully educate oneself.
The USDA can't be trusted to always dispense or relay safe and accurate information.
In the case of their Bacon and Food Safety webpage, under the question "Can Bacon Be Home Cured?" they provide a link to a page at Missouri Extension Service with bad information.
The instructions say to cure bacon with "nitate" (saltpetre) and that the nitrate (saltpetre) in only optional.
This presents a couple of major problems, the USDA discourages the use of nitrate in bacon, it is, in fact, banned in all commercial bacon and when smoking bacon (there's no temperatures specified in the smoking instructions) cure should ALWAYS be used, it's not optional!!!!

Some scary stuff coming from what's supposed to be the "be all, end all" authority on such subjects!!!

post #2 of 11

Beware of links to other authorities!  Looks like Missouri Extension service need to update their  info?   


I am the first to agree,  understand the reasoning behind what we do,  understand the math, understand basic food safety and question advice (in a nice way) when you don't understand.   I no longer blindly accept as accurate the amounts of cure in recipe books.  I look at what they are doing, do a little math, calculate the proper amount of cure that should be used and then compare it to the recommended amount.    This site and the research I have done while participating in Smoking Meat Forums has given me the knowledge and experience to check and question recipes.


Good find Diggy,



post #3 of 11

This was my first clue to how outdated this article is.


"When production of bacon depends upon natural conditions for refrigeration, pork bellies should be placed in cure during December through February. The risk of spoilage is greater during the warmer seasons of fall and spring."


Was there not refrigeration when this was written?

post #4 of 11

He He   be careful what you link to!!!     No telling how long that link has been up and I am willing to bet no one bothered to check it.   Always read the recipe and if it says to wait until killing time when the weather gets cold or to rub the hams with ashes from a good hardwood fire you may want to question the recipe  drool.gif

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Problem is, the link is used more than in just that instance, it's used several times at other government and university websites, there's also similarly bad information dispensed by the same.
They can't spend 10 minutes updating bad information that's 20 years old!!!???
Tax dollars at work!!
post #6 of 11

That's why we make good use of the tax dollars spent on our educations!   To be able to seperate the questionable advice from the good advice. 



post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
On the National Center for Home Food Preservation website they specifically state that nitrate isn't recommended , then they proceed to refernce the same bad article......


4.2. Bacon

Bacon is cured and/or smoked hog meat from the pig belly. Bacon produced at home, is typically dry-cured with salt, nitrites, sugar, and spices for a week or longer. Because of concern over N-nitrosamines, the use of nitrates for bacon curing is not allowed commercially (USDA FSIS 1997c). Home preparations, such as Morton Smoked-flavored sugar cure, contain nitrates and are recommended by the manufacturer for the use in bacon curing (Morton Salt Co.1996). Some ethnic bacon (Canadian bacon and Irish bacon) is made from leaner cuts. Pancetta is Italian bacon that is not smoked. Salt pork is salted pork belly fat.

For more information, please refer to the following resources:
Bacon Glossary (Alden 2001a).
Home Curing Bacon for a Mild Flavor (Alexander and Stringer 1993).

Edited by DiggingDogFarm - 3/20/12 at 1:05pm
post #8 of 11

I guess I'm not seeing the questionable citation.  Anyone that has been on this forum for a while knows how I feel about TQ if that is the link you are referring to. 


For-warned is For-armed. 

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by alblancher View Post

I guess I'm not seeing the questionable citation.

The same link that was referred to in the first post.....
Home Curing Bacon for a Mild Flavor (Alexander and Stringer 1993).
post #10 of 11

Yep, I see it now.    Ok guys,  don't use saltpeter to cure bacon regardless of what Missouri Extension Service says.


I find a lot of Extension service information to be questionable or at least out of date.

post #11 of 11

Interesting how no one has updated the info...JJ

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