Does Wright Bacon Have Nitrates? What You Need to Know

Bacon is a beloved breakfast food for many but it’s no secret that it’s not the healthiest. One of the biggest concerns around bacon is the presence of nitrates and nitrites which have been linked to some cancers.

With so many “natural” and “nitrate-free” bacon options on the market now it can be confusing to know what’s truly better for your health. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at whether Wright bacon contains nitrates the controversy around nitrites in cured meats, and how to make the healthiest choices when it comes to your morning bacon.

An Overview of Wright Bacon

Wright bacon is a popular brand of bacon known for its signature smoky flavor and crispy texture It’s a go-to choice for many bacon lovers

But the big question is – does Wright bacon contain nitrates? Let’s take a look at what the experts say.

According to research from The VeryMeaty Team, the ingredient list for Wright bacon shows that it does contain added nitrates. Specifically, it contains sodium nitrite, which is a common preservative used in many cured and processed meats.

The Environmental Working Group’s Food Scores database also confirms that Wright Smoked Bacon contains sodium nitrite.

Why Are Nitrates Added to Bacon in the First Place?

Now you may be wondering, why are nitrates used in bacon production at all?

Here’s a quick overview:

  • Nitrates are added to cured meats like bacon and hot dogs to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria like botulism and listeria. The nitrites have antimicrobial effects.

  • Nitrates also give cured meats their characteristic pink color and unique tangy flavor that consumers expect.

  • When used in proper regulated amounts, nitrites can be an effective food safety tool to prevent illness. They’ve been approved for use by health agencies.

During the curing and cooking process, nitrites interact with proteins to form compounds that may be carcinogenic in high amounts. This has caused controversy around their use.

However, bacon produced without any nitrates/nitrites at all is more prone to bacterial contamination. So it’s a complex issue with pros and cons to consider on both sides.

The Controversy Around Nitrites in Bacon

There’s no doubt that nitrites in processed meats are highly controversial. Here’s an overview of the Debate:

Arguments Against Nitrites

  • Studies show when nitrites are exposed to high heat (as in cooking bacon or hot dogs), they can convert to carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines in the body.

  • Processed meats containing nitrites have been linked to increased risks of stomach, colon, and pancreatic cancers.

  • Animal studies show higher risks of cancers when animals consume nitrite-cured meats vs uncured meats.

  • Babies and children may be most at risk from nitrosamines.

Arguments Supporting Nitrites

  • Nitrites block the growth of botulism, listeria and other harmful bacteria that can cause serious food poisoning.

  • The small amounts used are tightly regulated and have been deemed safe by health agencies.

  • They create the characteristic flavor, aroma, and color that gives foods like bacon its distinctive cured meat flavor. This flavor would be lost without nitrites.

  • Alternatives like celery powder naturally contain nitrates that also convert to nitrites. So no bacon is truly nitrite-free.

As you can see, there are good points on both sides of the debate. It seems that small amounts of nitrites may be a necessary evil in processed meats to balance safety and quality. But there are still valid concerns about cancer risks.

Understanding Label Claims like “No Nitrates or Nitrites”

Walk down a supermarket bacon aisle and you’ll see an array of labels like “no nitrates or nitrites added” or “uncured bacon.” This can be confusing.

The truth is bacon cured with natural sources like celery powder or sea salt contains just as many or higher nitrite levels than bacon cured with man-made sodium nitrite.

This is because celery and sea salt naturally contain high amounts of nitrate that convert to nitrite during production. So it’s very misleading.

The USDA does allow labels like “uncured” or “no added nitrates” on bacon with these natural nitrate sources. But it’s semantics. These bacons can contain the same or higher levels of nitrites than standard cured bacon.

The only way to truly avoid nitrates is to choose pork labeled “organic” or “100% grass-fed” from trustworthy local sources. Mass-market bacon labeled “natural” or “uncured” isn’t always better.

How Much Nitrite is in Wright Bacon?

The USDA limits the amount of sodium nitrite added to cured bacon to 120 parts per million (ppm).

Within these limits, different brands of bacon can vary in their nitrite content. Testing has shown traditional bacon averages around 40-50 ppm nitrite versus alternative “uncured” bacons that average 80-100 ppm nitrite from natural sources like celery powder.

So in general, you can expect Wright bacon to fall into the average range of 40-50 ppm of nitrite content. Choosing a product closer to 40 ppm would minimize your nitrite intake.

Of course, the exact nitrite levels can vary between different production plants and batches. If you really want to minimize nitrites, bacon from alternative meat companies that use minimal nitrates may be a better choice.

5 Tips for Choosing Healthier Bacon

If you don’t want to give up your bacon entirely but want to reduce your risk, here are some tips for choosing a healthier option:

1. Look for “No Nitrates or Nitrites Added” labels

While this label doesn’t guarantee zero nitrites, these products will likely have lower nitrite levels than traditional cured bacon.

2. Choose Bacon Labeled “Organic” or “100% Grass-Fed”

To avoid nitrates/nitrites as much as possible, go for certified organic bacon from pasture-raised pigs.

3. Check the Ingredients List

If the ingredients include “celery juice” or “celery powder” it contains nitrates that convert to nitrites.

4. Buy From Local Farmers

Local butchers and farmers may use minimally processed curing methods with few or no additives.

5. Eat Bacon in Moderation

No matter what type of bacon you buy, it’s healthiest to eat it sparingly as part of an overall healthy diet.

Making any of these steps can help reduce your nitrate/nitrite intake from bacon.

Healthier Bacon Alternatives

If you want to take a break from traditional bacon, there are some healthier bacon-style alternatives to consider:

  • Turkey or chicken bacon – lower in fat than pork bacon

  • Tempeh bacon – made from fermented soy; contains protein, fiber

  • Coconut bacon – vegan alternative; made from coconut flakes/oil

  • Shiitake mushroom bacon – low in fat, calories; provides vitamin D

  • Eggplant or zucchini bacon – veggie bacon options with fewer preservatives

While they may not mimic real bacon perfectly, these alternatives are all nitrate-free ways to get a similar smoky, salty flavor without the health drawbacks.

The Bottom Line on Wright Bacon and Nitrates

So does Wright bacon contain nitrates? The answer is yes. Like most mass-market bacon brands, Wright relies on sodium nitrite during processing to prevent bacterial growth and give that distinctive cured meat flavor bacon is known for.

While nitrites allow for food safety and quality, there are legitimate concerns about their cancer risk especially for children and pregnant women. It may be wise to balance your love of bacon with some nitrate-free alternatives and not overindulge.

Looking for truly nitrate/nitrite-free bacon? Your best choices are certified organic or locally sourced from farmers doing minimal salt curing. For everyone else, choosing bacon with lower nitrite levels when possible and eating in moderation is a smart approach.

At the end of the day, knowledge is power when it comes to your food. Being an informed shopper and consumer can help you balance enjoying bacon’s signature taste with your health needs.

Enjoy Your BACON! The Nitrate/Nitrite Cancer Scare Destroyed!


Is Wright Brand bacon nitrate free?


What is the healthiest bacon to buy?

“When choosing bacon, opt for no-sugar and uncured options, ensuring a delicious and healthier choice for your plate,” says Lara Clevenger MSH, RDN, CPT. She recommends Pederson’s Natural Farms Organic Uncured Bacon, as it’s sourced from humanely raised animals and is free from nitrates, nitrites, MSG, gluten, and soy.

Does Tyson Foods own Wright’s bacon?

Wright Brand Foods, Inc. was a meat-packing company located in Vernon, Texas, that was eventually bought by the Tyson Foods corporation in 2001. Begun in 1922 by Egbert Eggleston, what eventually became a multimillion-dollar business started out in the back of a local grocery store.

What is bacon without nitrates and sugar?

Naked Bacon is just that, naked. That means bacon with NO sugar, nitrates, nitrites, chemical solutions, celery, phosphates or water. Instead, we use ultra-high quality ingredients and slow, traditional methods to dry cure and smoke our meat in small batches.

Does Bacon have nitrite?

Unfortunately, bacon cured with salt and celery juice will react with saliva to form nitrite, which in turn becomes harmful nitrosamines. In fact, WebMD states that bacon packages labeled “nitrite-free” were tested to have more than double the amount of nitrates as regular bacon.

Where can I find nitrate-free Bacon?

Niman Ranch: This brand uses natural sources of nitrates, such as sea salt and celery powder, in their bacon. Their pork is also free from antibiotics and hormones. 2. Applegate Farms: Applegate Farms offers a variety of flavors of nitrate-free bacon, all made with celery powder as a natural source of nitrates.

What are the best nitrate-free Bacon brands?

If you’re looking for nitrate-free bacon, here are some top brands to consider: 1. Niman Ranch: This brand uses natural sources of nitrates, such as sea salt and celery powder, in their bacon. Their pork is also free from antibiotics and hormones. 2.

Can you eat nitrate-free Bacon?

For a Bulletproof take on nitrate-free bacon, get a pastured pork belly from a local farmer (or a reputable retailer like U.S. Wellness Meats) and follow these guidelines: Use a small amount of sodium nitrate and smoked salt to cure the pork. Yes, you’re directly adding nitrates to the meat, but fewer overall than you would find in celery powder.

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