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Additives and Preservatives

What is sodium erythorbate?

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Sodium erythorbate is an antioxidant which is the sodium salt of erythorbic acid. In meat curing, it controls and accelerates the nitrite curing reaction and maintains the color brightness. It is used to make frankfurters, bologna, and other cured meats. Several years ago the rumor was started that it was ground earthworms - totally false. This probably resulted from someone noting that the word "earth" is derived from the Middle English word "erthe."

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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