Sodium nitrite, also called nitrous acid, sodium salt, is a food additive with chemical formula which serves a dual purpose in the food industry since it both alters the color of preserved fish and meats and also prevents growth of the bacteria which causes botulism, Clostridium botulinum
While this chemical may prevent the growth of bacteria, it is dangerously similar in formula to sodium nitrate, a prime ingredient in explosives. Various dangers of using this chemical as a food additive have been suggested and researched by scientists. A safer alternative to the bacteria issue would be to store meats and fish in freezers. CSPI's Food Safety.