Curing with nitrite has been used, essentially, for thousands of years to produce safe and nutritious products and to effectively preserve meat. Since the controversies about the safety of nitrite that started in the mid-20th century, much has been learned about nitrite and heme chemistry and the overall metabolism of nitrogen oxides in humans.
Curing practices in the meat and poultry industries have been adjusted using the knowledge obtained about nitrosamine risks. The ongoing research focused on the metabolism of nitric oxide, nitrite, and nitrate appears to reaffirm the safety and benefits of current curing practices.
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