Little is known about the mechanism of the reactions leading to formation of cured meat flavor or of the identity of volatile and non-volatile substances responsible for it. This review of the contribution of nitrite to cured meat flavor in products such as ham, bacon and frankfurters includes sensory analyses and studies of the chemical components contributing to cured meat flavor. The antioxidant properties of nitrite in retarding development of warmed-over flavor in cured meats are also discussed.

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Author notes

1Present address: Canada Packers, Limited, Toronto, Canada.

2On sabbatical leave from the Department of Food Science, Queen Elizabeth College, London, W8 7AH, England.