Effect of Cooking Methods on Residual Nitrite Levels in Commonly Consumed Sausage in Ghana

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AUGUST, 2017
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Sausages are a processed form of meat popular in Ghana, especially among children. Sausages contain nitrite which serves as a curing agent for most processed meat products and is used as preservative, antioxidant and a colour fixative. It is a precursor of carcinogenic N-nitrosamines during the processing of meat products or through human digestion activities. This study aimed to investigate the effect of different cooking methods on the residual nitrite concentration of different brands of commercially available sausage in the Ashaiman market in the Tema district of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. A total of 18 samples of six (6) different brands were used in this study. The study employed three (3) common cooking methods used in cooking sausage in Ghana; boiling, frying and grilling. Raw (uncooked) sausage served as the control. Determination of the residual nitrite concentration of the different sausage brands cooked using different cooking methods was by a spectrophotometric method. The residual mean nitrite concentration (ppm) for the raw, boiled, fried and grilled sausage brands were as follows; for brand A; 164, 78, 81 and 80; for brand B; 248, 218, 269 and 387; for brand C; 108, 104, 217 and 198, for brand D; 187, 154, 225 and 150, for brand E; 188, 54, 45,and 47, and for the last brand F; 347, 190, 218, and 205, respectively. The results revealed that brands A and E had significantly reduced nitrite concentration for all three cooking methods. Also, among the six (6) brands of raw sausage investigated, the nitrite concentration level of brand C (108 ppm) was within the set acceptable limit (125 ppm) by the Ghana Standard Authority and WHO/EU recommended levels with the rest showing values above the limit in processed meats. The results suggest boiling as a safe cooking method for cured meat and sausages found on the Ghanaian market.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Science, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Food Quality Management.