Determination of Nitrate and Nitrite in Meat and Dairy Products

  • Daniel C. Siu
  • Alan Henshall
  • Walter A. Ausserer


Nitrate and nitrite presented in food products are routinely monitored because of their toxicity. Nitrite acts as a preservative against microorganisms, such as Clostridium botulinum 1, that can cause food poisoning. It is also responsible for the reddish or brownish color in meat products like ham and salami. The main health concern is that nitrite can be converted to nitrosoamines, which are cancer causing agents.2 This reduction process occurs in food products and within the human digestive systems. An additional health concern is that nitrite presented in infant formula and milk products can cause methemoglobinemia in infants.3 Methemoglobin, an abnormal type of hemoglobin, has reduced ability for carrying oxygen in the human blood stream. Nitrate, although more stable and less toxic than nitrite, is also a concern because it can readily be converted to nitrite by microbial reduction in food products.4.5


Sodium Hydroxide Infant Formula Meat Sample Nitrate Nitrite Unidentified Peak 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel C. Siu
    • 1
  • Alan Henshall
    • 1
  • Walter A. Ausserer
    • 1
  1. 1.Dionex CorporationSunnyvaleUSA

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