SO WHAT’S WRONG WITH NITRATES AND NITRITES IN FOOD? 34 APRIL 2016 Clean Label Phosphate/ Sodium Reduction Yield Improvement & Purge Reduction Fat and Calorie Reduction Cost Saving Opportunities Natural Citrus Fiber Non-Allergenic Non-GMO No E-Number -FIE- 2015 Natural Ingredient Award Come Visit Us at IFFA! Hall #4.1 Booth A36 Product of USA p. +1 715.425.7550 firstname.lastname@example.org www.fiberstar.net There have been several reports in the past year on the presence of nitrates and nitrites in foods and the potential food safety issues associated with these. Some customers reject foods that contain detectable levels of nitrate/ nitrite, with the main concern being the possible formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines when nitrites react with secondary amines. However, this potential risk to human health is a rather controversial issue. Research claims that evidence of carcinogenicity by consuming nitrate or nitrite in food is inconclusive. While there are many studies carried out by World Health Organisation on the carcinogenic effects of nitrate and nitrite, in 2011 it declared that these studies failed to establish any link or relationship between cancer and the dietary intake of nitrate or nitrite. It is clear that nitrate or nitrite being a health hazard for humans is still under debate and more studies are needed to confirm the hazardous effect of nitrate and nitrite. In the dairy industry there are concerns about nitrite levels in milk, the raw material for infant formula, due to one documented case of infant methemoglobinemia caused by the formation of methemoglobin (formed from oxidation by nitrite) resulting in the blood having a reduced ability to transport oxygen. This can be potentially dangerous for infants when drinking water or infant formula containing high level of nitrite, but appears to be extremely rare. Nitrates and nitrites occur naturally in many foods. They are a natural part of the nitrogen cycle in foods of plant origin. Most of our exposure to nitrates and nitrites occurs through the consumption of fruits and vegetables, which we all know are an essential part of our diet. Another source of nitrite is from the bacteria naturally present in our mouths and gastrointestinal tract. A recent study by one of our students found many of the harmless bacteria naturally present in food have the ability to convert nitrate to nitrite. Nitrites are also used as preservatives in many foods. The primary use for sodium nitrite as an antimicrobial is to inhibit Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin production in cured meats. This is important to ensure the safety of this and other foods from bacteria we know represent a food safety hazard. Nitrates and nitrites are part of our daily diet. There is insufficient evidence to support the claims of carcinogenic effects. The benefits of using nitrite-based preservatives have been recognised for some time and far outweigh any concerns about potential harmful effects of nitrates and nitrites in food. www.belletech.co.nz Tel: 021 223 4268 A natural citrus fibre that provides high water-holding and natural emulsification properties provides multiple benefits for all forms of meat, poultry and seafood applications, and is available in New Zealand from BelleTech. Citri-Fi ensures that the insoluble/soluble fibre and protein stay intact, with applications including injecting, marinating, grounding and forming, and emulsifying. Made by Fiberstar, the benefits of Citri- Fi include yield improvement, purge and phosphate reduction, freeze/thaw stability, improved juicy texture, and cost savings. The clean label citrus fibre is non-GMO, non-allergenic and has no E-number. Fiberstar is represented in New Zealand by BelleTech, a wellestablished company with a strong portfolio of specialised food ingredients, renowned for its product range and outstanding customer service. Call Sally Ostick for more information. I N G R E D I E N T S Steve Flint Professor Steve Flint is the director of the food division at Massey University’s Institute of Food Nutrition and Human Health.
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