We just ordered milk, eggs and bacon delivery from a local farm co-op. I'm so excited because they are local, don't use antibiotics or hormones, and the eggs are free range. The bacon is advertised as "sodium nitrate free" on their website. Today we got our delivery and the ingredients list "sodium nitrite." I've always used the terms interchangeably, but obviously they see a difference. I looked the terms up and they appear to be similar food preservatives that are both dangerous. I'm trying to figure out more before I call the farm. Is this sneaky advertising or am I missing something?
sodium nitrite vs. sodium nitrate?
Very sneaky! I would be upset.
Sodium nitrite is the most commonly used curing salt. It is used for short term curing, such as hams, bacon, and corned beef, to give it the characteristic pink color and prevent botulism.
Sodium nitrate is only used for long term curing, such as for dry-cured sausages. Sodium nitrate will eventually transform into sodium nitrite over time during the curing process.
I don't think nitrate is ever used for bacon, unless it is the vegetable form. So they weren't lying, but it was very misleading information.
I'm not positive on this, but it might be a requirement that all cured meats have some form of nitrite, be it manufactured sodium nitrite or "natural" sodium nitrate from celery seed or other root vegetables (the nitrate changes into nitrite during curing). Unless you are curing and smoking your own, it will be hard to find absolutely no-nitrite bacon. But the celery salt cured stuff is good enough for me!
this is from the Applegate Farm's web site- http://www.applegatefarms.com/resources/nitrates_and_nitrites.aspx
I would avoid them both, and I do not consider either of them natural at all. A person who is not educated in what the difference is assumes that there is no difference, so they are not likely to check the label for either of these things and instead just trust what the packaging says. The company plays on this so customers will think it is completely free of preservatives when in reality yes they did tell the truth, but were only talking about 1 of the 2 problem ingredients. If that makes any sense. Either way, I would be upset and demand a refund.