May be derived from waste animal or vegetable matter. Used in the preservation
of meat products, such as, cured meats, bacon, ham, tongue, sausages,
smoked frankfurters, pressed and tinned meats such as corned beef and
some Dutch cheeses.
nitrate is probably better known for its use in gun powder and fireworks
or as a fertiliser for intensive crops such as tomatoes and potatoes.
As a food preservative it is one of the most effective (and oldest)
ways of preserving meat, in particular inhibiting the growth of the
bacterium responsible for botulism.
in general it is rapidly excreted, under some specific conditions it
may be converted in the stomach and saliva to potassium nitrite, which
can prevent haemoglobin in the red blood corpuscles performing as an
oxygen carrier. This can lead to cyanosis, sometimes called 'blue baby
syndrome' in infants. May provoke hyperactivity and other adverse reactions.
Potentially carcinogenic. Restricted in many countries. Also see E249.
addition, prolonged exposure to even small quantities may cause anaemia
or kidney inflammation, with ingestion of large amounts possibly causing
severe abdominal pain and vomiting, muscular weakness, vertigo and irregular
for consumption by children.