Nitrosamines...Bad! Erythorbate...Good! Recipes???

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by chef jimmyj, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The creation of Nitrosamines are mentioned in various threads and their control has been established by the USDA through the use of Erythorbate and or Ascorbate. So where are the recipes that use these additives? What are your opinions on their use? Prepackaged mixes are convenient but manufacturers go out of business, recipes are forever and reproducible...JJ
     
  2. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Jim do you have a link to where it says this? I thought accelerators only worked with nitrites to speed up it's conversion to nitric oxide.

    I've used Ascorbate   in some bacon but really never noticed a difference in color fixing but I need to do a side by side test sometime.

    I think Len Poli has a few recipes that use accelerators, when I get a chance I'll look some up.
     
  3. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here you go Dan...

    http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/sausage-making/curing
     
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Last edited: Jun 28, 2011
  5. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the info guys, I need to read it all again when I get time. I have always been under the impression it was the nitrate and high fry temp that caused the nitrosomines development and that's why they don't allow nitrate in bacon.

    This should be an interesting thread. [​IMG]
     
  6. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Ditto Dan

    I to will have to read these links,  right now I think I am recovering from heat exhaustion after working on my shed this morning.  Damn it's hot.
     
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Very interesting reading.
     
  8. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The article by Dr. Scanlan says that both Ascorbic Acid and erythorbic acid reduce the formation of nitrosamines by more completely oxidizing the precursors of nitrosamines.  The addition of these additives have further reduced the amounts of nitrosamines found in cooked, commercially cured bacon.  

    Neither cited article mentions nitrates and their role in curing bacon.  I believe the incomplete oxidation of the nitrates to nitrite to NO leaves higher levels of these nitrosamine precursors mentioned by Dr. Scanlan.  Cooking bacon to "well" or crispy causes the precursors to form nitrosamines.   Is it safe to say that if you use a large amount of Ascorbic Acid when you cure bacon you can use Nitrates to cure bacon?  Don't know, sounds like a bit of a reach, unnecessary and I'm not enough of a chemist to have an opinion.  USDA hasn't changed their opinion as far as I know. 

    Maybe next time I cure bacon I'll dust a couple of pieces with Fruit Fresh after the allotted cure time, while it sits in the refrigerator waiting to be smoked.  There is nothing in Fruit Fresh that would cause a problem, it provides the ascorbic acid and a bit of dextrose.  I would expect to see a brighter color because of greater oxidation of the nitrites.

    Al
     
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Al my friend, While it is true that there is no specific reference to Nitrate in bacon curing, the article does discuss gastric breakdown of Nitrate to Nitosomine.

    " As indicated in the table, nitrosamines can form in the gastric juice of the human stomach. This is commonly referred to as endogenous nitrosation. Bacteria in the mouth chemically reduce nitrate, which is prevalent in many vegetables, to nitrite, which in turn can form nitrosating agents. Many foods contain amines that can react with nitrosating agents in the acidic stomach to form nitrosamines. While it has been demonstrated that ascorbic acid can reduce nitrosation in the stomach, more research will be required for a fuller understanding of endogenous nitrosation and its ramifications for health and disease."

    So as you mention there may in fact be residual, unconverted nitrate in Bacon cures that are made with nitrate and no antioxidant such as Ascorbate or Erythorbate. This train of thought actually was motivated by the recent discussions of the use of Tender Quick for Bacon. I was curious if any of the BACONATORS here thought of or has used Antioxidants with Nitrate containing Bacon cures?...JJ

    BTW...Sounds like some Vitamin C or Citrus juice should be consumed at every meal containing VEGETABLES!...Oh no the Sky is falling the Sky is falling.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2011
  10. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    JImmy, 

    I think we agree that nitrosamines are formed when the bacon is cooked at high heat in the presence of nitrites and/or nitrates.  Using the proper amount of nitrite at the time of curing, and since we have a pretty good idea how quickly nitrite oxidizes to NO, if we allow sufficient time most if not significantly all of the nitrosamine precursors are converted to harmless NO   So adding ascorbic acid to your curing bacon further speeds up and increases the efficiency of the nitrite conversion to NO.  There is little if any nitrosamine precursor available when the bacon is cooked.  Nitrates are not converted to Nitrites by the same process.  The majority of Nitrate to Nitrite conversion is by biological action.  Nitrite conversion to NO is the curative reaction, not nitrate to nitrite.  This is why Cure 2 is so effective in long term cures, the gradual conversion of Nitrate to Nitrite provides the curative Nitrite over long periods of time.

    Many vegetables are high in nitrates, smoking provides a lot of nitrates.  When you consume nitrates/nitrites as part of your daily diet,digestion produces the nitrosamines we are trying to avoid.  These same vegetables are often high in Vitamin C  (ascorbic Acid),  Broccoli for example.  So you are eating the nitrates/nitrites and the oxidizers at the same time.  Sounds like a good plan.  When I was in school I was a lab assistant for a professor that worked with Linus Pauling, the fella that said Vitamin C is the wonder vitamin.  They both lived into their 90s so they may be on to something.  To this day many of us take Vitamin C supplements, drink OJ, eat our citrus fruits and fresh green vegetables.

    If you cook nitrate rich foods at high heat you produce high levels of nitrosamines.  I may have missed something in the article but I did not see a reference to Ascorbic acid's ability to convert the nitrosamines to harmless chemicals.  The only thing I saw was the ascorbic acid's ability to prevent the formation of nitrosamines.  Once formed they seem to be pretty stable chemicals.

    Thats all I know about the subject.  Any thing you are able to provide not entered above is new knowledge to me so I hope to learn something.

    Al
     
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    AL,

     " I may have missed something in the article but I did not see a reference to Ascorbic acid's ability to convert the nitrosamines to harmless chemicals.  The only thing I saw was the ascorbic acid's ability to prevent the formation of nitrosamines.  Once formed they seem to be pretty stable chemicals." 

     My point exactly...Once the nitrosamines are formed nothing can be done...So if, "An ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure," do you  and anybody else here think Erythorbate or Ascorbate should be going into cures with Nitrite and or Nitrates and if so how much? 

    Thought provoking stuff...JJ

    BTW...The "Sky is Falling" was intended as a joke of what may be perceived as paranoia on my part...I hope you did not take it as an insult...?
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2011
  12. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Jimmy,

    I'm 280 lbs with diabetes.  A little nitrosamines will probably not be what kills me but I still try to eat good food.  Just to darn much of it. 

    Don't know how much, I have not used them, to this point.  I do know Ascorbic acid is pretty harmless so it would be hard to overdose if following some type of acceptable recipe.  I think most recipes that call for these chemicals do it more to enhance/fix the color of the meat and add a bit of tartness then to prevent the formation of nitrosamines.

    Jimmy do you agree with the statement  

    "Nitrates in uncooked bacon are converted to nitrosamines by high heat during cooking.  Including ascorbic acid in cures that use nitrates to cure bacon will not prevent the formation of Nitrosamines when the bacon is cooked to burnt or crispy.   Including ascorbic acid in cures with nitrates for foods subject to low to moderate cooking temperature will prevent the formation of nitrosamines during digestion.  Including ascorbic acid in bacon cures using nitrites only, speeds up the curative activity of the nitrite and provides for better utilization of the available nitrite.  You are able to cure for less time because there is very little nitrite available for the formation of nitrosamines during high temperature cooking" 

    Just so I know we agree and at least the two of us can resolve the science behind the TQ question.

    Thanks,

    Al
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2011
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Al, You have proven to be a Man of Great knowledge and of Respect, I do agree with your statement.  I'm just a little disappointed...I like my bacon CRISPY!...A pleasure as always my friend...JJ
     
  14. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    that in a nut shell is what I understand about nitrosamines........ I'd have to agree with the above also.
     
  15. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Jimmy

    by all means eat your bacon crispy.  If nitrosamines are a concern either buy commercial or use Cure 1 when curing your own bacon.  OR  Go ahead and use the nitrite, nitrate mix and don't worry about the nitrosamines.  It's an individual call.  The doctor told my 84 year old grandmother that she had to quit smoking.  She laughed.

    Al

    And I do appreciate the kind misguided, words!
     
  16. So much hysteria based on an extreme study back in the 70's.....

    How many folks here cook their bacon at/to 600 degrees?

    From wedlinydomowe.com.......

    "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."

    Nitrite and Nirate are perfectly safe if we follow USDA recommendations.

    EVERYONE (especially those giving advice) who is serious about curing meats needs to read and understand  the Processing Inspectors' Calculation Handbook!!!!!

    http://www.aamp.com/documents/Directive7620-3.pdf

    Chef Jimmy J the additive information you seek is in the handbook.

    ~Dig
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  17. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    We need to remember that the two chemicals have different properties

    The articles I have read also say that the reason nitrates are regulated for bacon is that it is only necessary to reach temps that cause the bacon to be crispy or burnt for nitrosamines to be formed if residual nitrates are in the raw bacon.  I am a big proponent for following USDA guidelines and until they change their No Nitrates in Bacon stance I will continue to point out to new members that nitrate containing cures should not be used in the curing of bacon. 

    I agree the advantages gained in food safety by the proper use of Nitrates and Nitrites in cures far, far outweighs any possible adverse health effects of nitrosamines.

    Good to see you back.

    Al
     
  18. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Fl
    >>>>>So much hysteria based on an extreme study back in the 70's.....  

    Exactly.... burned bacon,burned toast and Budweiser  were the culprits....

    Some folks are making way too much of nothing.
     
  19. What's amazing to me is that sugar in our foods doesn't scare people anywhere near as much as the nitrate/nitrites thing...and sugar is EVERYWHERE.

    Diabetes and relates conditions are an epidemic!!!

    How many serious warnings and cautions do you see about sugars???

    Not many......next to none!!!

    Things need to be brought into perspective!!!

    Al...I also have diabetes!

    ~Dig
     
  20. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Bob,

    If you remember back in the 70s nitrites/nitrates where used as a common preservative.  It was found in just about every food product. Cheap California wines and hot dogs (something I am quite familiar with) where notorious for the large amount of nitrites/nitrates they contained.  In retrospect it seems silly but there has been a lot of progress made in reducing our constant, unregulated exposure to these chemicals
     

Share This Page