Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are a preservatives found in most processed meats such as bacon, sausage, deli meat, and hot dogs. Some research has shown that they may cause cancer, and is especially unsafe in small children. They are also used in fertilizers and smoke bombs...yummy, right? Just doesn't sound like something our bodies really need.
Applegate Farms (carried at Whole Foods) makes a wide variety of meat products without these preservatives, and they are so tasty! Every now and then, places like Food Lion and Walmart will have an organic hot dog in the case, but it isn't consistent so far. Oscar Mayer was also carrying a natural hot dog for a while, but I haven't been able to find it lately, and I'm not seeing it on the Web site. Jimmy Dean makes a delicious all natural sausage that I buy at Lowes Foods or Super Target. Hormel has also jumped on the bandwagon by creating a line of natural deli meats.
If you pay attention and read labels, you can easily avoid these preservatives. (Or if you're lucky like we are around here, you can find people who kill their own hogs and have great, fresh natural products!)
*Disclaimer! I am not saying that these products are in any way good for you, but there is a way to have them better for you than the way they are typically sold.*