Reducing the amount of nitrites in the production of pasteurized organic meat : summary of the project and implications

D. Stegeman, T.J. Verkleij

    Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


    In the production of organic meat products like cold meats, nitrites and nitrates are used for several reasons: for the antimicrobial and anti-oxidative properties, forming and stabilizing the red, cured meat colour, and for forming a cured flavour. From literature, it is concluded that it is not possible to substitute nitrite in the production of organic cooked cured meat products with a single additive or combination of additives without changing the quality of the meat products. Nitrite is responsible for the distinctive cured colour and aroma and microbiological and chemical stability of the meat product. Nitrite is unique in its capability to prevent Clostridium botulinum spores to germinate and form poisonous toxins. In organic production, it is not desirable to use nitrite, mainly because of probable health risks associated with it; according to several publications, nitrite-derived products are supposedly to be carcinogenic. For food safety (mainly by preventing botulism), having small amounts of nitrites in the meat prodcuts is still desirable. The organic sector expects that a complete ban on nitrite use will only lead to uncontrolled application of (organic) alternatives still leading to nitrites in the final product; alternatives that may be used without registration. Therefore, the present work focuses on a reduction of nitrites, to minimize microbiological risk, while reducing the risks of producing possible carcinogens
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationWageningen
    PublisherAgrotechnology & Food Sciences Group
    Number of pages23
    ISBN (Print)9789085852230
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Publication series

    NameReport / Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group
    PublisherAgrotechnology & Food Sciences Group 940


    • organic foods
    • meat products
    • nitrite
    • food quality
    • keeping quality
    • meat extenders
    • food additives
    • ham
    • colour


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