Saturday, June 5, 2010

(Another) Bacon Alert...sigh....

The folks at Cooks Illustrated (July-August, 2010) have bad news about the "uncured, no nitrites added" bacons.

Nitrites and nitrates are used in the preservation of processed meats (such as ham, hot dogs, and of course, bacon). Studies have shown when nitrites and nitrates combine with the saliva in our digestive systems they can become carcinogenic. Enter the uncured, no nitrites/nitrates added bacons, which claim to be safer.

Turns out, this is not necessarily true: Some of the ingredients used in these natural preservation methods (such as celery juice) aren't so innocent. These ingredients have higher levels of naturally occurring nitrites than in the traditionally preserved bacon. In fact, the folks at CI found that some brands of all natural bacon had more than three times the level of nitrites of traditional bacon.

What's a bacon lover to do? All things in moderation.... For my family, I feel a little bacon every now and then won't hurt. I use it occasionally in cooking and also by itself (bacon and eggs! BLTs!) I do try to buy bacon from a responsible source, such as our local Rocky Plains Meats where I know the animals have been treated well and have been raised without antibiotics.

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