When was the last time you read a story where the villain was celery? Pull up a chair.Food and agriculture are complicated, and I end up writing a lot of click-proof pieces chock full of eye-glazing detail concluding that there s no easy answer. So it s a pleasant change of pace when I encounter an issue that is black and white. Crystal clear. A no-brainer.[https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/heres-what-the-governments-dietary-guidelines-should-really-say/2019/03/25/69f86e12-4beb-11e9-93d0-64dbcf38ba41_story.html?utm_term=.5553100bc03c Here s what the government s dietary guidelines should really say]It s uncured bacon.You know the stuff. It populates the shelves at Whole Foods and Trader Joe s, and there are generally a few choices at supermarkets. It says uncured in big letters, and you buy it because you think it s better for you, being free of nitrates and nitrites.But guess what? It isn t better for you. It does have nitrates and nitrites. Sometimes, higher levels than conventionally cured meats.This is not a secret. Google it, and you ll find that all kinds of people have written about it. Somehow, though, it hasn t entered the public consciousness, and I m going to do my level best to change that.The issue is that uncured bacon is actually cured. It s cured using exactly the same stuff nitrite used in ordinary bacon. It s just that, in the uncured meats, the nitrite is derived from celery or beets or some other vegetable or fruit naturally high in nitrate, which is easily converted to nitrite. In ordinary bacon and cured meats, the nitrite is in the form of man-made sodium nitrite. But the nitrite molecule is the same, no matter its source.It s worthwhile to take a moment to understand the difference between nitrate and nitrite. (Besides, without at least some eye-glazing detail, how would you know it was me?) I asked Jeff Sindelar, professor of meat science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, to explain the process. Nitrate is a molecule consisting of one nitrogen atom with three oxygens. That is easily converted (by an enzyme from bacteria) into nitrite, which has only two oxygens. When nitrite comes into contact with protein, it is converted to nitric oxide, which does the actual curing.[https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/why-we-worry-about-preservatives--and-why-we-shouldnt/2018/11/23/d06663f0-ed01-11e8-96d4-0d23f2aaad09_story.html?utm_term=.050e425c279f Why we worry about preservatives and why we shouldn t] When you cure products, you change the microflora, says Sindelar. Certain bacteria can grow, others are inhibited. The things that make products spoil, you slow them down and add shelf life. Among the inhibited is the bacterium that causes botulism. Curing slows down fat oxidation, which reduces rancidity. It s also responsible for the characteristic flavor and nice pink color of bacon, ham and hot dogs.Doing this with veg-derived nitrite is a relatively new thing. The celery cure was developed in the 1990s in response to the developing interest in natural products, says Joseph Sebranek, professor of animal science, food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University. When the first products came to market, about 20 years ago, they used nitrate, and manufacturers needed an extra step in the process to convert it to nitrite. Now, though, thanks to the miracle of modern technology, the celery powder contains nitrite, and Sindelar says 98 or 99 percent of veg-cured products on the market use that.
Applegate Farms petitioned the USDA to add curing agents made from vegetable juices to the list of approved agents, so its bacon wouldn t have to be confusingly labeled uncured. (Stacy Zarin Goldb,12,881866.001001001,3,30132,220.127.116.11
881871,881866,881867,2019-04-27 11:15:10.663000000,Re: The uncured bacon illusion: It s actually cured
That was illuminating!
The ‘uncured’ bacon illusion: It’s actually cured, and it’s not better for you.
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