What do you think when you hear the words "preservatives"? Do you have a favorite preservative? Do you love you some sodium nitrate? When it comes to food and preservatives most of us would say we want to avoid them, yet we buy food with them in it all the time. One of the biggest culprits has been lunch meat or other pre-cooked meats and one of the most used preservative has been sodium nitrate. There has been a big push in the last couple years to see more meat products sold without this nitrate. The push has gotten even bigger in the last year as more and more products are showing up with labels like Uncured or No Nitrates added. If this is something that appeals to you, you can find some of these products at your local Costco, I have a guide of some of the things you might find on the shelves as part of my own going series on whether it's worth your money to invest in a Costco membership.
duBreton Organic Uncured Ham 18oz, $9.89
Jones Uncured Canadian Bacon Cherrywodd 24 oz, $9.99
Sausages by Amylu Chicken Sausage 3 16oz packs, $12.99
Coleman Natural Chicken Sausage Mild Italian 48 oz, $13.99
Let me take a moment to highlight a few items from the list.
The package indicates that no nitrates have been added. A note at the bottom indicates except those naturally occurring in salt and celery powder. A lot of things labeled as no nitrates or uncured use celery powder or juice instead. It is a high source of naturally occurring nitrates. This Canadian Bacon has been smoked using cherrywood, my favorite wood for smoking meats - I just think it tastes the best.
A classic mild Italian sausage made using chicken instead of pork. The chicken were raised with no antibiotics or no added hormones. Hormones are not allowed by law in raising chickens, so every chicken is raised without hormones, so that label is really meaningless, yet you see it used all the time. The no antibiotics thing is something to look for.
Looking for something a little different, try this other chicken sausage that contains apple and gouda. Please note that if you are avoiding pork, this sausage does use a natural pork casing, so even thought it says chicken sausage it still technically contains pork.
What about Kirkland brand meats?
I was unable to find any Kirkland brand meats that were uncured or nitrate free. I know for certain that their Black Forest ham contains nitrates.
What about Columbus Meats?
The Columbus meat products I found contains no nitrates, but their ingredient list did include things like potassium cholordie, soy protein isolates, sodium phosphates. This was the first I heard of soy protein isolates. The Soyfoods Association of America defines it this way : "Soy protein isolate is a dry powder food ingredient that has been separated or isolated from the other components of the soybean, making it 90 to 95 percent protein and nearly carbohydrate and fat-free.
Should I Only Eat "Uncured" Meats?
I am not pretending that I know all the answers. There is a lot of debate on whether sodium nitrates are bad for you or not - some say avoid them like the plague, others say they are fine for us and even have health benefits. The internet is full of a million opinions on the subject. The point of this post is present to you what products that Costco carries that have no added sodium nitrate. I recommend you doing the research and determining what you feel comfortable consuming. Make sure you read your ingredient lists so that you know what you are buying and putting into your body.