Cured or Not?

What does cured or uncured mean, really? It's bacon!

What does cured or uncured mean, really? It's bacon!

[ed note: this is why I (Mike) hate the government. They redefine terms so that you think you know what it means but it doesn’t actually mean that. My new favorite twitter account is @CrimeADay]

I was on Twitter the other night and jumped in a thread about, of all things, Hot Dogs, Vitamin C and the Carnivore Diet.

The original tweet was based on Dr. Ken Berry's (possible) quote that most people could eat keto/carnivore quite successfully and cheaply with all beef hot dogs and guacamole.

Long thread short, another tweep tweeted that the brining and curing would destroy any possible vitamin C in any cured meat (uncured beef has some vitamin C contrary to popular opinion.)

Then I tweeted that my favorite brand of all grass fed beef, uncured wienie products had 30 grams of Vitamin C on it's nutrition label. Then I was taken to school by the aforementioned tweep on the ins and outs of USDA regulations on cured and uncured meat products.

Which led me to this little USDA discourse on the uses of certain additives in processed meat products.

Briefly, there is a particular list of additives that must be used for a hot dog, or bacon or other product to be legally called "cured." These are nitrites generally.

So this is where your "healthy food" food processors get away with a little technicality in labeling their products with the health-minded in mind.

I mentioned above that my hot doggies have Vitamin C in them. They do, and that vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) is added by way of Cherry Powder (listed in the ingredients.) My doggies also have Celery Powder, which is a natural product high in Nitrite.

So here is the technicality that makes what you think you are buying (uncured meat) actually be the product you were trying to avoid (cured meat.). As I said, cured meats must contain the above mentioned chemicals, which include ascorbic acid and nitrite, to legally be called "Cured." However, adding Cherry Powder and Celery Powder to your hot dog product do exactly the same things chemically as ascorbic acid and nitrite, but because you aren't using additives from the Cured list, by law you have to call your product "Uncured."

So, check the ingredient list on your next prospective uncured purchase at the Whole Paycheck store: chances are your Uncured product is actually Cured, but because of USDA regulations (and some innovative use of the inherent loopholes by food processors) by law they have to be calledhealthy, I mean Uncured.

Part 1 of 3: use of celery powder and other natural sources of nitrite as curing agents, antimicrobials or flavorings. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2019, from

Randy Hauer