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Why is sodium nitrite added to some meat products?

Views: 91     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-12-22      Origin: Site

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Nitrite is a generic term for a group of inorganic compounds, the main representative substance being sodium nitrite. Sodium nitrite is a white to light yellow powder or granule with a slightly salty taste and is easily soluble in water. It is similar in appearance and taste to table salt and is a food additive that can be used as a colour guard and preservative in meat products, with relevant usage and residue requirements in food.


The main reason why nitrite is added to meat products is that it can give meat products a bright red colour when added during the production and processing of meat products. Nitrite also has a preservative effect and can inhibit the growth and reproduction of a variety of anaerobic Clostridium perfringens, especially Clostridium botulinum, to prevent bacterial poisoning from meat consumption. Nitrite is therefore widely used in the processing of meat products.

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Nitrite-induced food poisoning is also known as enterogenic cyanosis, cyanosis, and oidomycosis. When nitrite enters the body, it can cause the blood to lose its oxygen-carrying function, resulting in tissue hypoxia and cyanosis. In severe cases, the skin of the eyes, conjunctiva, face and body is cyanotic, with nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, convulsions, coma, incontinence and death due to respiratory failure. This is only one aspect of its toxicity, but what is more dangerous is that it can interact with secondary ammonia to produce nitrosamines, which are strongly carcinogenic to animals. Epidemiological surveys have shown that many human cancers, such as stomach, oesophagus, liver, colon and bladder cancers, may be linked to nitrosamines.


Given the seriousness of nitrites, how can people avoid or reduce the health hazards of nitrites in their food consumption? First of all, in daily life, try to reduce the intake of nitrite, such as cured meats, bacon and salted fish, these foods contain a higher possibility of nitrosamines, many pickled vegetables, kimchi also contain high levels of nitrite, these foods should be eaten less; secondly, if you want to keep leftovers to eat, it is best to cool the leftovers with plastic wrap sealed, put in the refrigerator, to eat when the leftovers are heated, the dish This will effectively prevent the conversion of nitrates into nitrites in the food. In addition, it is important to consume more fruit and vegetables, of which vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can inhibit the synthesis of nitrosamines. The specific principle is that vitamin C and nitrite work together very quickly and ascorbic acid is oxidised, reducing the probability of nitrite or nitrosamines being produced in the body. Therefore it is important to consume more fresh vegetables and fruits with a high vitamin C content, such as kiwis, oranges, fresh dates, hawthorn and green peppers, etc. It all boils down to one word: eat more fresh and less pickled.

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