Back in the 1970's a rather damning (and somewhat flawed as it turns out) report coming out of the MIT gave nitrates and nitrites a bad name. These two compounds natural occur in the human body and largely in vegetables. In a knee-jerk reaction to this report the FDA of the day cut the allowable levels of nitrates and nitrites allowed In food products. This especially had a knock-on effect on the reputation of cured meats.
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