Title:Nitrates as additives in food
Nitrates and nitrites have a long history of use within foods and can be dated back to as early as 3000bc. This additive may be seen to positively contribute towards preservation, colour and flavour of food in particular meat. Furthermore it demonstrates antimicrobial properties and subsequently helps protect against food borne pathogens such as Salmonella and Clostridium. Shelf life is also extended as it acts as an antioxidant and prevents development of rancidity. However the use of nitrates has not been without controversy with fears of carcinogenicity and methomoglobinemia constituting the major worry in connection with its usage. Much research has been carried out and indeed is ongoing in particular in relation to cancer and a solid link is yet to be found. ADI has been developed and may aid in preventing the ingestion of potentially toxic levels. It must be noted that many positive uses of nitrates have also been discovered that may be of benefit to human health. Despite this a multitude of alternatives to nitrates have been found and an increasing number of products have been seen to utilise these in an effort to decrease or entirely eliminate Nitrate use and dietary consumption. This study is relevant as it compares and contrasts both older research with that of newer findings and highlights new concerns/views regarding nitrates. Indeed, from a veterinary perspective therapeutic uses of nitrates may have a role in clinical practice in future years.