Sodium nitrite is an edible salt that is used in the production of meat products to protect against toxins and give pink color to meat products, Deputy Director for Research at the FNTs of Food Systems named after A.I. V.M. Gorbatov RAS , Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor Anastasia Semenova .
“Sodium nitrite provides taste, aroma, microbiological protection and protection against the formation of toxins in the production of meat products. The meat industry has not known food poisoning due to sodium nitrite alone. It also gives a pink color to ham, sausages, sausages, ”Semenova explained.
According to the scientist, from the point of view of chemistry, sodium nitrite is a salt of nitrous acid, a toxic substance in its pure form. Therefore, in the meat industry, it is used in a mixture with ordinary edible salt. This mixture is called nitrite salt or curing mixture.
“When a person buys a sausage or a meat delicacy, nitrite is no longer there, as it interacted with proteins and gave the product new organoleptic properties. The pink color and aroma of ham remain. But when salted with ordinary salt, the meat product will be gray and with a characteristic smell of boiled meat. A large number of meat products are made without nitrite – these are all semi-finished products, dumplings, meatballs, fried sausages, pates, liver sausages, etc. Where there is gray, there is no nitrite, ”Semenova explained.
According to her, scientists have studied over 700 different substances to replace it, including yellow salt with an admixture of iron and various trace elements, but so far sodium nitrite remains indispensable.
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