Does Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon Have Nitrates? Examining the Ingredients

For health-conscious bacon lovers, turkey bacon is often seen as the lighter, better-for-you alternative to traditional pork bacon. With less fat and fewer calories, brands like Oscar Mayer make it easy to get your bacon fix without all the grease. But many consumers wonder – if it’s turkey, does Oscar Mayer turkey bacon still contain potentially harmful nitrates like regular bacon? Let’s take a detailed look at the ingredients to find out.

An Overview of Nitrates in Bacon

First a quick recap on nitrates and their controversial role in bacon production.

Nitrates and nitrites are food additives used as preservatives and color fixatives in cured and processed meats like bacon, deli meats, hot dogs, and sausages.

While effective at preventing bacterial growth and giving these products their characteristic pink hue, there are health concerns around nitrates forming cancer-causing compounds called nitrosamines when exposed to high heat.

This has led some consumers to seek out “no nitrate or nitrite added” bacon, which swap celery powder for man-made sodium nitrate. However, celery powder naturally contains nitrates that still convert to nitrites during processing. So these “uncured” bacons aren’t fully nitrate-free.

Okay, now let’s look at Oscar Mayer’s popular turkey bacon and see if it contains these controversial compounds.

Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon Ingredients List

According to the Oscar Mayer website, the ingredients for their Natural Uncured Whole Cut Turkey Bacon are:

  • Turkey Thigh Meat
  • Water
  • Sea Salt
  • Natural Flavorings
  • Celery Juice Powder
  • Cherry Powder
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice Concentrate
  • Citric Acid

Right away, we see celery juice powder in the ingredients list. This indicates that nitrates are present, even though the product is labeled “uncured”

Does That Mean Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon Contains Nitrates?

Yes, Oscar Mayer’s turkey bacon does contain nitrates, though not from direct addition of sodium nitrate.

The celery juice powder provides a natural source of nitrates that converts to nitrites during the curing process. So while Oscar Mayer turkey bacon does not have added nitrates, it still contains nitrates naturally.

This allows Oscar Mayer to use the “uncured” label, even though the end product contains nitrites formed from the nitrates in celery juice powder. It’s a common labeling tactic used by many natural and organic bacon producers.

How Does Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon Compare to Regular Pork Bacon?

While Oscar Mayer turkey bacon does contain nitrates/nitrites like regular bacon, there are a few key differences:

  • Lower levels: Turkey bacon has been shown to contain lower residual nitrite levels compared to traditional pork bacon.

  • Additional antioxidants: The celery juice powder provides vitamin C and other antioxidants that inhibit nitrosamine formation.

  • Leaner meat: Turkey is significantly lower in fat than pork, limiting exposure to nitrosamines formed during cooking.

So while not completely nitrate-free, Oscar Mayer turkey bacon represents a better-for-you option compared to regular bacon in terms of reduced nitrite load and fat content.

Other Healthier Bacon Choices to Consider

For those looking to strictly minimize nitrates, there are a few alternative bacon options:

  • Organic uncured bacon – True organic bacon produced without nitrate-containing curing agents or celery powder.

  • “Nitrate-free” labels – Look for bacon cured with sea salt, sugar, and spices without celery juice powder.

  • Local artisanal bacon – Small batch bacon may use simpler dry-curing methods without preservatives.

  • Prosciutto or pancetta – Italian-style dry cured, unsmoked pork products.

  • Turkey or chicken bacon – Poultry-based bacon has less fat for potential nitrosamine formation.

While it requires careful label reading, there are nitrate-free bacon options available for those wishing to avoid these controversial compounds as much as possible.

Should You Be Concerned About Nitrates in Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon?

While turkey bacon from Oscar Mayer does contain nitrates from natural celery powder, the levels are much lower compared to traditional pork bacon cure methods.

For most people, the small amounts of nitrates and nitrites in turkey bacon should not be a major concern. The antioxidants present also inhibit formation of carcinogenic compounds.

However, certain groups may still wish to limit exposure as a precaution, including:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Infants and young children
  • Those with specific nitrate-sensitivities

As with most foods, moderation is key. Eating turkey bacon in place of higher-fat pork bacon can be part of an overall healthy diet when consumed responsibly. Being an informed consumer about ingredients like nitrates allows you to make the right choices for your individual health needs.

The Bottom Line on Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon

Oscar Mayer turkey bacon, like most “uncured” turkey bacons, does contain small amounts of nitrates from natural sources like celery juice powder. However, these nitrate levels are much lower compared to traditional pork bacon. When consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, Oscar Mayer turkey bacon can be a smarter substitute for regular bacon. Those with specific nitrate concerns may want to seek out alternative preservative-free options, but for most people the small nitrate load in turkey bacon is not a significant worry. As with any food, being knowledgeable about ingredients is key so you can customize your diet to your needs. So enjoy that turkey bacon!

Two Million Pounds of Oscar Meyer Turkey Bacon Recalled


Is Oscar Mayer turkey bacon nitrate free?

No nitrates or nitrites added except those naturally occurring in cultured celery juice and sea salt. Fully cooked. No fillers.

What turkey bacon has no nitrates?

COLUMBUS® Turkey Bacon This bacon is uncured (contains no added nitrates or nitrites) and just like bacon, you need to cook it before enjoying it.

Is Oscar Mayer turkey bacon healthy?

Just like pork bacon, turkey bacon contains a hefty amount of saturated fat and sodium—two nutrients that, when consumed in excess, can potentially result in some unsavory health outcomes. And just like with any processed meat, eating turkey bacon in excess is not a wise move for your overall health.

What happened to Oscar Mayer’s natural turkey bacon?

More than two million pounds of Oscar Mayer turkey bacon is being recalled, following consumer complaints that led to the discovery that the bacon may spoil before the recommended use by date, posing health hazards to consumers.

Does Oscar Mayer make turkey bacon?

Oscar Mayer may be renowned for its bologna, but the brand does not manage to translate its success into the realm of turkey bacon. This one is a resounding no from us. 8. Butterball In our pursuit of the perfect turkey bacon, we found ourselves evaluating Butterball’s offering, which earned a place near the bottom of our list.

Is Oscar Mayer turkey bacon good for hot dogs?

Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon The brand that makes you think of the best hot dogs in America is not the first one you think of for turkey bacon, but Oscar Mayer’s Turkey Bacon is a popular option stocked just about everywhere. This is one of the lower sodium brands, too, with just 140 milligrams, or 57% less than traditional pork bacon.

Does turkey bacon have nitrates?

Crafted from turkey thighs, this turkey bacon prioritizes wholesome ingredients and minimal processing. It boasts an impressive 94% fat-free content and is free from artificial ingredients. The notable absence of added nitrates or nitrites reinforces its health-conscious appeal.

Does Oscar Mayer make bacon crispy?

(That’s right, the pig gets no credit.) Oscar Mayer uses a fairly standard set of ingredients for industrial-cured bacon: water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphate, sodium ascorbate, and sodium nitrite. The verdict: We want crispy. We want crunchy. We do not want bacon that shatters into bits on the first bite, as Oscar Mayer’s did.

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