(NaturalNews) The distinctive red color of hot dogs, bacon and some sausages may appear to be the healthy flush of just-slaughtered meat, but of course any processed meat being sold in a store was slaughtered long, long ago.
That pink color actually comes from additives called nitrites and nitrates, which are toxic preservatives that kill off bacteria and other living things and thereby increase the shelf life of processed meats.
Indeed, sodium nitrite is so toxic to the human liver and kidneys that the FDA unsuccessfully tried to ban it in the 1970s.
Nitrites are potent preservatives and also give food a distinctive flavor, so food producers have been reluctant to phase them out.
Consumer pressure is finally starting to yield results in this regard, however. "Nitrite-free" sausage can now be purchased in the refrigerated section of grocery stores, often colored with annatto or other plant-derived dyes.
Even nitrite-free processed meats are not particularly healthy, however, and should not be consumed regularly.