History of Nitrite and Nitrate in Food

  • Jimmy T. Keeton
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


This chapter provides a brief historical perspective of the use of nitrates and nitrites in curing meat products and their presence in other foods. It cites the regulatory limits of cure ingredients as established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provides a synopsis of the low residual levels of nitrite/nitrate in present-day cured meats. Highly consumed vegetables are the primary contributors to the dietary nitrate/nitrite load along with water in some municipalities. Although nitrites/nitrates have received public health scrutiny since the early 1960s, these two molecules have a rich history in food dating back thousands of years.


Nitrate Nitrite Cured meats Clostridium botulinum Dietary load USDA regulations Vegetables Water 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nutrition and Food ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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