Are you Eating Nitrate Free Meat in Japan?

Are you looking for nitrate free meat in Japan?  Meat comprises a large portion of meals because it’s an easily accessible form of protein.  The process of how meat gets from the farm to you seems simple enough, however there are many different steps involved to guarantee safety, taste and aesthetics.  Most people would assume that the meat in Japan sold at the grocery store is 100% meat.  The fact of the matter, is that a lot of meat in Japan is factory farmed through mass agriculture and is loaded with preservatives, chemical sterilizers, color fixatives and a whole host of other additives.  Finding a source of meat that does not contain these additives can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. Compared to the United States, there are stricter controls placed on meat processing procedures and nitrate free meat in Japan is easier to come by.  Antibiotics and hormones are not as heavily used, and in some cases, prohibited when raising meat in Japan.

In Japan and overseas, meat processing can be quite a drawn out process, so nitrates and nitrites are used as preservatives to prevent bacteria growth and maintain color.  If nitrites are combined with some amino acids they can cause a carcinogenic effect.  Color fixatives are designed to keep meat looking fresh and maintain its natural color.

Color fixatives

The color fixatives for meat currently allowed in Japan are:

  • potassium nitrate – less than 0.070g/kg
  • sodium nitrate – less than 0.070g/kg
  • sodium nitrite – less than 0.070g/kg

These three additives also serve as a fermentation regulator.  Fermentation regulators basically keep meat in Japan from spoiling.

Anti-microbial agents

Meat and meat products must be handled with the utmost commitment to food hygiene and food preparation.  Anti-microbials are used as part of the meat preparation process in Japan to prevent bacteria from forming.  Below are the anti-microbial agents regulated for use in the meat production industry in Japan and their allowed limits:

  • sodium chlorite – 0.50g-1.20g/kg as a dipping solution or a spray
    (the ph level must be between 2.3-2.9).
  • chlorous acid water – 0.40g/kg as a dipping solution or in spray form
  • hydrobromous acid water (in the form of bromine) – (0.90g/kg on all meat except chicken) (0.45g/kg for chicken) as a dipping solution or surface spray.
  • peracetic acid – 2.0g/kg for chicken as a dipping solution or spray.
  • equal parts hydroexyethilidene and disulphonic acid – 0.136g/kg for chicken as a dipping solution or spray.
  • peracetic acid – 1.80g/kg for beef and pork as a dipping solution or spray.
  • equal parts hydroexyethilidene and disulphonic acid – 0.024g/kg for beef and pork as a dipping solution or spray.


Once meat in Japan has been treated with sterilizers, preservatives are used to prolong shelf life and prevent decay.  The following preservatives are allowed in meat in Japan:

  • Sorbic acid – 2.0g/kg
  • Nisin – 0.0125g/kg
  • Calcium sorbate – 2.0g/kg


Japan also played a part in creating additives used in meat production.  You’ve probably heard of “Activa” or Transglutaminase, which is produced by Ajinomoto.  Activa is known colloquially as “meat glue”.  As the name suggests, its main function is to stick stray pieces of meat together to form larger, more uniform pieces of meat.  Chemically, meat glue consists of “thrombin” – a coagulant protein mixed with “fibrin” which is a fibrous protein.

What’s the solution?

Knowing what additives are in meat in Japan, it makes you wonder if there are any more natural options available.  There are a few options for chemical, natural additive and nitrate free meat in Japan. Some supermarkets or specialty butchers do sell meat that is free from hormones and antibiotics.  If you are looking to buy nitrate free meat in Japan without hormones or antibiotics online, then Sugarlady is a trusted company dedicated to natural products, including food, cosmetics and supplements.  Within Sugarlady’s natural food products, is a line called Sugar Meat.  Like all Sugarlady products, Sugar Meat is all natural and free from chemicals, pesticides, preservatives, growth hormones, antibiotics and all 449 additives that are currently allowed in food in Japan.

The range of Sugar Meat encompasses all natural, non-GMO, additive free Sugar Beef, Sugar Pork and Sugar Chicken that do not contain therapeutic chemicals, hormones or antibiotics.

Related Links:


Buy natural & additive-free products in Japan!

All About Sugarlady

Learn all about Sugarlady – the leading company behind natural and additive-free food in Japan.

Open this in UX Builder to add and edit content