Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Alternative curing methods

Purpose of Review

Curing—the treatment of meat products with nitrite and nitrate—is controversially discussed by consumers, as increased consumption of cured foods might negatively influence human health.

Recent Findings

However, omitting of curing chemicals might reduce microbiological safety, thereby increasing the risk to consumer health. Also, besides the addition of nitrate/nitrite, meat products are additionally preserved within the hurdle principle by other methods such as chilling, ripening, or heating.


The present article focuses on the addition of plants/plant extracts or plasma-treated water as nitrate sources and the direct treatment of meat products with plasma for nitrate generation. With regard to color and microbial safety of cured meat products, which are relevant to the consumers, promising results were also obtained with the alternative curing methods. Nonetheless, it is doubtful to what extent these methods are viable alternatives, as the curing chemicals themselves and not their origin are problematic for consumer health.


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