So-called "uncured" sausages and luncheon meats that have the characteristic coloring found in "cured" versions actually contain nitrates naturally occurring in celery juice. USDA requires labeling sausages and luncheon meats using celery juice, instead of direct nitrites which undergo curing to becomes nitrates, as "uncured". The color is a dead giveaway.
Cook's Illustrated has tested the so-called "uncured" bacon from well known brands at places like Whole Foods and the levels of nitrates vary since celery juice is not standardized to deliver specific dosages. Direct add nitrites (which become nitrates during curing process) have a max limit and is carefully controlled. Cook's Illustrated's article on the topic confirmed this consistency.
Note that foods have standard of identity as noted in the Code of Federal Regulations. This indicates what is and is not allowed in foods. For a company to label a product as "natural Swiss cheese" there are requirements what can and cannot be in that food to allow it to be called "Swiss Cheese" on the front panel of the product.
This is a very deep topic and if you really want to know what a 'beef enchilada' can contain, google 'beef enchilada CFR'. Food labeling is much more complex than many realize.
- 2/5/2015 9:29:17 PM