Since certain N-nitrosamines are highly carcinogenic, formation and isolation of these compounds from food systems has received much attention in the past decade. This paper reviews the N-nitrosamine literature of the past 3 years, especially as it relates to cured meat products. This review examines occurrence of nitrites and amines in food systems, presence of N-nitrosamines in bacon, and also means of minimizing formation of these compounds. In addition, regulatory changes pertaining to nitrite usage in curing procedures as well as some areas of future research are discussed.
1University of Guelph. Present address: Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824.