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Local Food 101

Have you ever wondered why certain foods are labelled Organic and others Natural.  What is the difference between Grass Fed Beef and Corn Fed Beef?  Should you buy the Free Range Eggs or those from Free Run Hens?  Are there Nutritional advantages of one over the other?  And who makes the decisions concerning Certification and Labelling in Canada?  If you have asked any of these questions, then this section is for you! 

Based on some of the most commonly-asked questions about our food, Foodlink has compiled Local Food 101 to help you navigate through the confusion that surrounds food and agriculture terminology today. 

Choose topics to explore from the categories listed below.  This list will grow over time.  Should there be a term that's not here that you'd like to see covered, please let us know.  We'll do our homework to help get you the facts on your food!

Nitrate Free

Other terms include nitrite free

Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are both preservatives found in processed meats like salami, pepperoni, ham and bacon.  These chemicals are added to raw meat in order to create a pink colour in the final product.  Processed and cooked meats without nitrates or nitrites are brown or gray coloured.  Nitrites are also added to control bacterial growth and extend shelf life.

Since sodium nitrite reacts with stomach acid and other chemicals in the stomach to produce nitrosamines, which have been shown to cause cancer in animals when consumed in large quantities, nitrate free deli meats are now available to consumers. By controlling temperatures during the cooking process and employing colder storage, these safely cured products retain their natural colour and are often found in the frozen food section.