The River Cottage Meat Book ( Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall ) Is really worth a read. It has a really well researched introduction which discusses amongst other things the rights and morality of eating meat and what constitutes good meat. Just reading his “ Meat Manifesto “ is worth it.
I use Nitrite ( but no Nitrate ) in my bacon and ham cures. However, Nitrite is the only artificial additive or preservative that I use. There is much debate on whether Nitrites in cured meats pose a health risk. My personal view, after extensive reading, is that the known benefits far outweigh any potential risks. I don’t want to bore you with the whole debate so I have added two links that I found to be very clear and factual, if you have time to read them.