Everything you need to know about Nitrites

02.05.16 Products

Consumers today ask more questions about exactly what our food is made from and the functional role that preservatives and additives play in food products today. In responding to customer demands, we have developed a new range of products which are Nitrite free. Everything you need to know about nitrites is in this blog.

What are Nitrites?

Nitrite, commonly displayed on food labels with the number ‘250’ is a preservative used in the smallgoods industry to preserve the shelf life and food safety of processed meats, from potential bacterial contamination. Also, is usually known as Sodium Nitrite or Potassium Nitrite. Nitrites are commonly found in Celery.

Are Nitrites safe?

At Sunshine Meats we always tell our customers ‘It’s all about moderation.’ If you eat a few slices of bacon, you won’t have an issue, however if you eat a whole kilo you could end up with some health problems. It’s also important to know exactly how much nitrite is in your food products. For example, our Double Smoked Ham contains 14mg/kg of nitrite and the state maximum is 125mg/kg of nitrite. Just to put this into perspective.

How can I tell if a product is Nitrite Free?

Nitrite when activated with protein turns the meat into a pink colour so typically a nitrite free product will be a brown colour and turn slightly grey when cooked, similar to the colour of a pork roast. The taste will be more natural and authentic and will help to capture the real flavour of the meat. The shelf life will also be shorter, meaning maximum freshness.

Nitrites and Nitrates, what’s the difference?

Most of the time, there can be confusion between Nitrites and Nitrates, both mean different things. To put it in simple terms, when Nitrate decomposes it becomes Nitrite. When activated with other acids and chemicals Nitrites can become toxic.


Below is our range of Nitrite Free products:

Nitrite Free Bacon

Nitrite Free Smoked Butterfly Chicken

Nitrite Free Smoked Butterfly Chicken Piri-Piri

Nitrite Free Smoked Butterfly Duck

Nitrite Free Smoked Butterfly Duck Piri-Piri