Evaluation of the content and safety of nitrite utilisation in meat products in Serbia in the period 2016-2018
Nitrites are inorganic salts widespread in water, fruits, vegetables, meat and meat products. Application of nitrites in the meat industry is necessary for multiple reasons. They suppress development of some microorganisms in food and are a source of nitrogen oxide that is widely involved in physiological functions of metabolism, food intake and energy balance. On the other hand, nitrites in food can produce nitrosamines that increase the risk of cancer. During regular quality control in 2016-2018, 972 samples of meat products were analysed and verified for compliance with regulations concerning nitrite levels, and the average participation of these meat products in daily intake of nitrite was estimated. The amount of nitrites in the examined meat products was within the permitted limits. The daily intake of nitrite in Serbia from meat and meat products was estimated as being from 0.015-0.020 mg kg-1 body weight, which is below the limit values set by EFSA for safe daily intake, i.e. 0.06-0.07 mg kg-1 body weight.