It's just something I've noticed while shopping. All of the chicken and turkey sausages I've seen (across multiple brands) do not contain sodium nitrate, but all beef- and pork-based sausage always has sodium nitrate.

I vaguely understand the role of nitrates in the food safety of cured meats, but I'm wondering what is it specifically about turkey and chicken that don't require nitrates.

  • 1
    What type of sausages? Fresh sausages are not generally cured, or considered "cured meat". The fresh sausages that I see here in the US (or make myself) generally do not contain sodium nitrate. Of course, dried sausages (various salumi) would require it.
    – moscafj
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 1:10

2 Answers 2


Check this essay: Time-dependent depletion of nitrite in pork/beef and chicken meat products and its effect on nitrite intake estimation

Check the Figure.1, while preserving meat in long days, the nitrite content in chicken sausage is much higher than pork/beef sausage.
For food safety, Nitrosamine where is transformed from nitrite is an important cancer factor. So there are only pork/beef(red meat) sausage in market but not for turkey/fish(white meat).

enter image description here

  • wait so what does the graph means, nitrite is found in a huge amount and it disappears / dissipates over time? And how does this answer the question?
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 13:10
  • 1
    Residue of nitrite in chicken sausage is much higher than pork/beef sausage while preserving after several days. For food safety chicken sausage may have higher danger due to Nitrosamine transformed from nitrite is positive related to the cancer forming
    – Conifers
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 13:20
  • Ok, but what about sodium nitrate? How does nitrite and nitrosamine relate to the question?
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 13:43
  • 1
    NaNO3 -> Na+ + NO3-(nitrate), and NO3- could transform to Nitrosamine with protein. (I'm not expert on Chemistry, it's seems common sense's explanation, need comment)
    – Conifers
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 13:52

i did some research and this is what i found...There are two reasons for adding this chemical to processed meats:It prevents the growth of the bacteria that spoils meat and preserves the meat as a red or pink color. There is some evidence that it also prevents botulism. And Sodium nitrate is not added to chicken or tuna, as there is no red color to preserve. Thats it!

  • is sodium nitrate only for color preservation? that's not what I understand from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_nitrate#Uses
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 13:12
  • @Luciano read again there doesnt said "only color perservation" Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 15:56
  • in your words: "Sodium nitrate is not added to chicken or tuna, as there is no red color to preserve". So what you're saying is: the only reason it's not added to chicken would be that there's no color to preserve.
    – Luciano
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 9:52
  • I never heard of chicken salami. Perhaps it exists. But it is mostly a comment for OP, as for salami are sort of sausages but the vice versa doesn't hold.
    – Alchimista
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 9:14
  • @Luciano i mean about the red meats tho... Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 17:49

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