The Beef Jerky Blues: Methemoglobinemia From Home Cured Meat

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2018 Jul;34(7):e122-e123. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000000917.


Methemoglobinemia can result from ingestion of nitrite- or nitrate-containing foods. Here, we report a case where an adolescent girl and her father developed clinically significant methemoglobinemia after ingestion of "homemade" beef jerky prepared with sodium nitrate salt purchased at a local grocery store. Both had palpitations, dyspnea, and visible mucosal cyanosis. The daughter had a methemoglobin level of 44.2% and the father's methemoglobin level was 34.2%. Prompt recognition of methemoglobinemia is important for initiating antidotal therapy with methylene blue.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methemoglobin / analysis
  • Methemoglobinemia / diagnosis
  • Methemoglobinemia / drug therapy
  • Methemoglobinemia / etiology*
  • Methylene Blue / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrates / adverse effects*
  • Red Meat


  • Nitrates
  • sodium nitrate
  • Methemoglobin
  • Methylene Blue