The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and Consumer Reports have petitioned the Food Safety and Inspection Service, requesting the agency “clarify the labeling of processed meats.” “Specifically, we ask that the agency cease requiring that such products be labeled ‘Uncured,’ and/or ‘No Nitrate or Nitrite Added’ when they have been processed using non-synthetic sources of nitrate and nitrite, such as celery powder, rather than traditional synthetic sources, such as sodium nitrite.” The petition asserts that both “synthetic and non-synthetic nitrites and nitrates may cause cancer,” and the petition coincided with the release of a Consumer Reports investigation purportedly finding that “consumers are confused by the ‘No Nitrate or Nitrite Added’ statements, which are currently accompanied by a fine-print disclaimer on product labels identifying the non-synthetic source of nitrates or nitrites.”

“We therefore urge the agency to stop requiring, and instead prohibit, the ‘No Nitrate or Nitrite Added’ claim on processed meat, except when no nitrate or nitrite is added from any source,” the petition asserts. “In its place, we ask that the agency require a front-of-package declaration and clear ingredient labeling whenever nitrates or nitrites are used in meats, regardless of the source. We also urge the agency to take additional steps to minimize levels of residual nitrates, nitrites, and nitrosamines in these products.”

About The Author


For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.