NITRITE CURING OF MEAT: THE N-NITROSAMINE PROBLEM AND NITRITE ALTERNATIVES. Ronald B. Pegg and Fereidoon Shahidi. Food & Nutrition Press, Inc. 6527 Main St., P.O. Box 374, Trumbull, CT 06611. ISBN 0-917678-50-8. 2000. 268 pp. $110.
While nitrite curing of meat has been in practice for centuries, the so-called “nitrite problem” has only been in existence for about 40 years. On one hand, the positive benefits and safety record of cured meats are absolutely impeccable. On the other hand, sporadic and nagging questions continue to surface about possible implications to human health from consuming nitrite-cured meat. Therefore, the publication of a book which addresses this topic is a welcome addition to the scene.
Several logically arranged chapters give the reader good, concise background information. Chapter 8 raises questions about potential health concerns related to consuming meat cured with nitrite. The authors conclude their book with a chapter about possible substitutes for nitrite. A complete description of the novel process of using preformed, cooked, cured meat pigment and what the future holds for the concept is given.
The book is easy to read and well documented with a complete and usable index. Each chapter eases into the topic with a review of the basics. The authors then proceed to a review of and comment on current literature and the opinions of the scientific community. This approach makes the book useful as both a teaching tool and a reference text. Chapter 3, about the color of meat, is excellent and should be studied carefully by anyone interested in meat pigments.
I believe the book could have been improved upon by including a chapter on the vast amount of work recorded in the past decade about nitric oxide. The text encompasses not only the critical physiological functions of the compound, but also the mode of formation in the human body. This seems particularly important since nitric oxide is the active ingredient in meat curing.
I recommend this book and assume it will find a wide circulation.
Robert G. Cassens, IFT Fellow, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
Applied Biocatalysis in Specialty Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals. Badal C. Saha and David C. Demirjian, eds. American Chemical Society, 1155 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Call 800-451-7556. ISBN: 0-8412-3679-8. 2001. 292 pp. $120.
Food Chemical Safety, Volume 1: Contaminants. David H. Watson, ed. CRC Press LLC, 2000 N.W. Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431. Call 800-272-7737 or fax 800-374-3401. ISBN: 0-8493-1210-8. 2001. 322 pp. $223.
Frying: Improving Quality. J.B. Rossell, ed. CRC Press LLC, 2000 N.W. Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431. Call 800-272-7737 or fax 800-374-3401. ISBN: 0-8493-1208-6. 2001. 369 pp. $206.
Making the Most of HACCP: Learning From Others’ Experience. Tony Mayes and Sara Mortimore, eds. CRC Press LLC, 2000 N.W. Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431. Call 800-272-7737 or fax 800-374-3401. ISBN: 0-8493-1218-3. 2001. 286 pp. $190.