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Ask Tufts Experts March 2010 Issue

Q: You often report about research on “processed” meats. But what exactly does “processed” meat mean?

Answer :  According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), processed meat products may include, but are not limited to, bacon, deli/sandwich cuts, frankfurters, salami and sausage. Such products, derived from beef, pork, poultry or sheep, are processed and/or preserved beyond simply cutting, slicing, grinding, rolling or skewering. For example, processed meats may be canned, cured, brined or salted, pickled or smoked. Processed meats often contain nitrites, added as preservatives, stabilizers and coloring agents.

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