Clear Case of Toxicity in My Food

Look at what I found lurking at the bottom of my frying pan as I was just about to clean it. Yes I found this black, stiff as ordinary plastic stuff. I believe it's the residue after cooking tocino. Now what and where on earth did this toxic substance come from? I know that it is a by-product of something. And I know it is NOT healthy. Sodium Nitrate I suppose?

By the way as defined by wikipedia tocino or "tosino is a cured meat product native to the Philippines It is usually made out of pork and is similar to ham and bacon although beef is also used. It is often reddish in color and has a sweetish taste. Its name is derived from the Spanish word tocino, which is used to describe bacon or cured meat".

"The meat is sliced into thin strips. Anise wine, annatto, water, salt, sugar, and saltpeter are combined in a container. Each strip is the sprinkled with the mixture and then piled on top of each other in a separate container, which is covered and kept refrigerated for about three days to cure. It is usually fried in oil or boiled in water, depending on how moist it is desired".

When I looked at what saltpeter is this was what wikipedia said: "Saltpeter is sodium nitrate which is a chemical compound with the formula NaNO3. This salt, also known as "Chile saltpeter" (to distinguish it from ordinary saltpeter, potassium nitrate), is a white solid which is very soluble in water. Sodium nitrate is used as an ingredient in fertilizers, explosives, and in solid rocket propellants, as well as in glass and pottery enamels; the compound has been mined extensively for those purposes".

"Sodium nitrate should not be confused with the related compound, sodium nitrite. The presence of sodium nitrite in food is controversial due to the development of nitrosamines when the food, primarily bacon, is cooked at high temperatures. The nitrate compound itself is not harmful, however, and is among the antioxidants found in fresh vegetables. [1] Its usage is carefully regulated in the production of cured products; in the United States, the concentration in finished products is limited to 200 ppm, and is usually lower".

"Note that Sodium and potassium nitrite are quite toxic to humans with the lethal dose being about 4 grams. As little as 22 mg/kg of body weight can cause death. This is about 2.2 grams for a body mass of 100 kg. Thus, there is enough sodium nitrite in 2 ounces of Prague powder #1 to kill a person".

"Nitrites and nitrates are pre-formulated into a product called Prague powder #1 and Prague powder #2. Prague powder #1 contains 6.25% sodium nitrite and 93.75% sodium chloride and is used for the preparation of all cured meats and sausages other than the dry type. Prague powder #2 contains 1 ounce of sodium nitrite and 0.64 ounces sodium nitrate per pound of finished product (the remaining 14.36 ounces is sodium chloride).

Tocino is often eaten with rice and a fried egg. This meal is often called "Tosilog" or "tocino, sinangag at itlog", which literally means tocino, fried rice and egg, AND TOXINS!!! Whoa!