Uses: Typical products include processed meats, cured and smoked meat and fish, root vegetables. Less than 10% of nitrate (nitrite) intake is from cured meats, with the rest coming from mainly root vegetables.
Excessive ingestion may result in such high concentrations of nitrites in the bloodstream that reduced concentrations of oxygen are carried by haemoglobin in red blood cells, resulting in shortness of breath, dizziness and headaches.
Nitrites may also form nitrosamines in the stomach, thought to be carcinogenic agents. May be fatal if swallowed. Eye, skin and respiratory irritant.
Not recommended for consumption by children. Not permitted in foods for infant and young children. Also called: nitrous acid potassium salt.
Description: Sodium nitrite is the potassium salt of nitrous acid and is used as a curing agent and preservative in meat. Sodium nitrite inhibits the growth of bacteria responsible for botulism, retards development of rancidity, and preserves flavours.