Unraveling the Science, Function, and History of Nitrite

Recorded Webinar

Examine the facts and functions of nitrite in our food, taking a close look at what it is, why it is used and why it is needed.

  • Release Date: March 5, 2019
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This product is free for FCP members.

This webinar was presented live on March 5, 2019.

Artisan charcuterie, sizzling bacon, satisfying beef jerky, classic hot dogs and bologna are just a few of the popular cured meat products that consumers crave and enjoy.  From Spain and Italy to the United States and Mexico, these delicious meat products are part of food cultures around the world.  Consumers are drawn to the delicious taste and protein they provide, but are they also wondering about the use of nitrite to make these products?  

This webinar will examine the facts and functions of nitrite in our food, taking a close look at what it is, why it is used and why it is needed.  Jeff Sindelar, Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will share the story of how an “accident” in food science soon became an essential and widely embraced method to controlling many dangerous bacteria and extending shelf life.  He will address common questions that your patients and clients may have about the role of nitrite in food, and share the decades of research that established the safety of nitrite. Finally, he will equip webinar attendees with the evidence and information to share with patients and clients on this important topic.

CPEU: 1.0
CPE Level: 2
Learning Need Codes: 2020, 2030, 2080, 2100
Performance Indicators: 13.2.1, 7.2.1, 8.3.6

Learning Objectives

  1. Discuss the origin and critical role of nitrite in food throughout history and in present day.
  2. Discuss the decades of research that established the safety of nitrite in food.
  3. Identify the main sources of nitrite in the diet and the human body, and how the body stores nitrite for later use in meeting our body’s physiological demands for nitric oxide.


Jeff Sindelar, PhD

Jeff Sindelar is an Associate Professor and Extension Meat Specialist in the department of Animal Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science with a meats emphasis from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1999, a Master of Science in Animal Science/Meat Science at Michigan State University in 2002, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Meat Science at Iowa State University in 2006. In 2007 Jeff joined the Department of Animal Sciences and was promoted as Associate Professor with tenure in Fall of 2012.  Jeff joined the Food Research Institute in 2009 as an Affiliate Faculty and has served on their Executive committee since 2012.

In his University of Wisconsin faculty capacity, Jeff provides assistance to meat processors in the areas of product development, problem solving and regulatory compliance. He also coordinates Meat Science workshops and training programs, and provides involvement and support to youth Meat Science related activities.  Jeff also conducts research on quality and sensory characteristics of processed meats, non-meat ingredient functionality in meat products, and intervention strategies to control pathogenic bacteria in meat products. His research program thrusts have focused on food safety investigations regarding thermal processing, alternative curing, and other relevant processed meat food safety technologies and strategies.  He holds 1 patent; has published 7 monographs/book/book chapters, over 30 refereed journal articles, and over 85 abstracts. Jeff has also given over 500 presentations on various Meat Science and Food Safety topics.

  • Release Date: March 5, 2019