Does Italian Sausage Contain Nitrates?

Sausages are delicious, but many varieties are often preserved by adding different substances.

Preservatives can affect your health or cause allergies, and more often than not, they do.

Does Italian sausage have nitrates?

Sausages, bacon, and ham all contain nitrates in their composition. 

Nitrates are natural preservatives used in meats to help keep them fresh, but excessive consumption of these foods can result in a condition known as methemoglobinemia.

There is more to the answer. Yes, it contains nitrates, but not in the way you think it does.

I will discuss the potential presence of nitrates in Italian sausage in this article. I will dive deeper into what nitrates are used and what their purpose is.

Do Sausages Contain Nitrates?

Before we answer the question, it is important to define Italian sausage.

Italian sausage products are cured or uncured sausages that makeup at least 85% of the meat, according to the USDA.

A distinctive flavor is usually given to them when they are added to them. Other ingredients that can be found in these products are onions, garlic, corn syrup, and more.

Italian sausage products can be cured and uncured if we follow the definition by the USDA.

Adding salt, nitrates/nitrites, or sugar to the curing process is what preserves meat. I will focus on the uncured version of Italian sausage because it is fresh in most cases.

Nitrates don’t get added to Italian sausage because it is fresh.

It doesn’t mean that there aren’t nitrates in the meat when you see a label that says “uncured.

It does not mean chemicals in the form of nitrates weren’t added to it. Adding juice or powder to the meat can make it taste better.

There is a natural preservative that contains nitrates. This shows that cured meat can sometimes be uncured.

The origin of the curing agent is what differentiates it from the others.

Since nitrates are related to meat, this may sound confusing, but we get 80% of them from vegetables.

Vegetables get nitrates from the soil they grow in because nitrates are naturally found in mineral deposits.

Different vegetables are added to the meat to make it taste different.

When people want to know if Italian sausage contains nitrates, they usually refer to chemical preservatives.

However, since the sausage is uncured, the answer is no. It may contain nitrates, but they are of natural origins only.

Sausage products made in Italy can contain nitrates if they are cured. However, that is not the case most of the time.

Sausage from Italy is traditionally defined as fresh, which means it is uncured.

Italian sausage is fresh and needs to be cooked before it is eaten. That is why there is no need for it to be preserved with different Additives.

Do Sausage Contain Nitrates

What Nitrates are in Italian Sausage?

Italian sausage is a type of sausage that is fresh. There are no chemicals added to it, including nitrates.

Other types of sausages and bacon, ham, hot dogs, and other cured goods are often cured with nitrates.

Nitrates used in meat preservation are:

  • Potassium nitrate (E252)
  • Sodium nitrate (E251)
  • Potassium nitrite (E249)
  • Sodium nitrite (E250)

There are two nitrogen atoms and three oxygen atoms in nitrates. They are usually stable and not harmful to our health.

When nitrates are converted into nitrites, there could be problems. Some nitrates could potentially be harmful.

They can turn into harmful nitrosamines, and nitric oxide, which have benefits for our organs.

If you cook meat at high temperatures, there is a chance of Nitrosamines. Many people try to avoid them because they are very dangerous.

Only a limited amount of nitrates and nitrites are allowed in processed meat due to health concerns.

It is recommended to purchase a pre-made curing mix if you want to cure your meat using these preservatives.

A balanced number of necessary additives are usually included in the mix.

Why Are Nitrates Used in Italian Sausage?

nitrates aren’t added to Italian sausage as previously stated.

Different manufacturing processes lead to other types of meat containing nitrates.

It isn’t all bad when it comes to nitrate levels in meat.

There are several benefits:

Why Nitrates are Used

The Development of Harmful Bacteria Can be Stopped

This is one of the reasons why nitrates are added to the meat.

They help establish a safe environment by preventing harmful bacteria from attacking meat.

To keep meat safe for consumption, nitrates and other ingredients have to be used.

Meat is safe when it comes to diseases such as food poisoning and other infections.

Extends Shelf Life

There are many types of meat that are stable for a long time. The meat doesn’t have to be kept in the fridge because of the addition of nitrates.

Adds Flavor

Nitrates give sausages a salty flavor.

Improves Appearance

Nitrates provide your meat a pink or red color.

Cardiovascular and Other Health Benefits

Nitrates can be turned into nitric oxide. It also has numerous health benefits.

Is Italian Sausage Healthy?

Meat and its benefits are often a topic of discussion, so you might wonder if Italian sausage is healthy or not.

It has a lot of benefits, from the standpoint of nutrition. However, there are also negative impacts.


The Italian sausage is made from pork. Pork has a high content of fat.

Italian sausage harms cholesterol, which increases the risk of developing heart disease.

One Italian sausage link has around 15-20 grams of fat, and about 6-8 grams are saturated fat, which is more than half of the recommended daily intake.


Water retention and increased blood pressure can be caused by high levels of sodium intake. Sausages with high levels of sodium are usually Italian.

It’s not a good idea to eat Italian sausages frequently if you have high blood pressure.

Protein and Carbs

An average Italian sausage link has about 16 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of Carbohydrates, so it is a great source of complete nutrition.

It is also great for people who are on a low-carb diet.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are in charge of converting food into energy and pork is rich in them. They help to form red blood cells, support the nervous system, and so on.

Phosphorus and Iron

Iron regulates hemoglobin and myoglobin production and helps with bone-strengthening.

There are two substances in Italian sausage. Sausage from Italy can be both beneficial and harmful.

When it comes to food, moderation is a must.

A well-balanced diet and limited consumption of Italian sausage may be the best choices for your health.


If you were wondering if Italian sausage has nitrates, you know what you’re talking about.

Nitrates are not added to it during processing because it is a type of fresh sausage.

In vegetables, nitrates are often present, so they could be found in the sausage seasoning.

Since eating large amounts of nitrates can affect your health, always enjoy moderation when it comes to meat.

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