Labeling requirement of traditional and alternative cured meat products.

Nov 17, 2015

The USDA has defined Standards of Identity for processed meats, and the standard of identity of some products, including frankfurters, ham, and bacon, states that they are cured. The USDA further defines cured meats as those that include the addition of sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, potassium nitrite or potassium nitrate. If a product defined as cured in its standard of identity is manufactured without one of the USDA recognized curing ingredients, the manufacturer must include “uncured” following the product name and “no nitrate or nitrite added except those naturally found in (added ingredients)” on the product label. Due to this regulation, cured meats produced with an alternative curing methods are required be labeled as “uncured” and “no nitrate or nitrite added” even though they have cured meat characteristics and contain residual nitrite and nitrate that is indistinguishable from those found in traditionally cured products.

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