Nitrite Vs Processed Meat

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Based on the experimental results, the hypothesis of raw meat having lower nitrite values than processed meat is supported. This is because processed meat, which typically carries longer shelf life, needs to have its pink color preserved. As mentioned in the introduction, nitrites turn into nitric oxide which react with oxygen-binding proteins in meat, ultimately changing its color.
Without additives like nitrites, meat would turn brown very quickly.

FDA regulations have capped the maximum amount of nitrite added to processed meat for curing before manufacturing at 200mg/kg, though typically only 10 to 20% of the nitrite content is left behind after manufacturing, and further decreases as it is stored for a longer period of time
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Through comparison of the values obtained from the experiment and from those in the
2001 study, it can be seen that the values greatly differ from each other. Possible reasons could


arise due to different brands of processed meat used or different methodologies used to extract nitrite. It is important to understand nitrosamines mostly form under high heat conditions. As most bacon, hot dogs and processed meat tend to be high in sodium nitrite and they are high protein foods (a source of amino acids), exposing them to high heat creates the perfect conditions for nitrosamine formation. Even though vegetables also contain high levels of nitrates and nitrites, they are rarely exposed to such conditions as compared to some types of meat. Further investigation can be used to compare nitrite contents of meat and vegetables to explore high heat conditions on various food classifications. As mentioned above, though vegetables account for 85% of the average nitrate and nitrite intake in human diets, marked differences exist between nitrites that are added to foods and those that occur naturally in produce such as spinach and celery. The latter come with vitamin C and
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