Another in a long line of lawsuits over the use of sodium nitrite in processed meats has been brought by Health Research Group.

The suit, brought against Carol Foreman, assistant secretary of agriculture, Robert Angellotti, administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Quality Service and Donald Kennedy, Food and Drug Administration commissioner, seeks withdrawal of permission for the use of nitrite in the curing of bacon products on the grounds that there has never been any legal authority for its use as a preservative.

Authority for its use has been confined to the chemical's ability to color meats. In recent regulatory action USDA has allowed the use of nitrite as a preservative, in amounts which far exceed those necessary for coloring.

For a long time it has been known that sodium nitrite combines with other substances called amines to form potent carcinogens, nitrosamines. Now there is additional evidence from Massachusetts Institute of Technology that sodium nitrite alone causes cancer in test animals.

Based on this evidence, the Food and Drug Administration is reported to be planning action which would phase out the use of nitrites in meat.

At this time every year the calls start to come in: "Someone told me you have to use sugar when you can and we just found out my husband is a diabetic. Do I have to use sugar"

"Can I can vegetables without adding the salt? Will that spoil them?"

"Canning and Freezing Without Sugar," a small but complete booklet by Betty Wedman, a registered dietitian, should answer all the questions. Wedman believes fruits should be canned in unsweetened fruit juices or water because they have fewer calories and offer better nutrition.

The booklet is available for $2.25 from: Betty Wedman, R.D., 40 S. Clay St., Hinsdale, Ill. 60521.

Here is a sugarless preserve recipe from Wedman. SPICED PLUM AND NECTARINE PRESERVES

(Makes 3 cups) 3 cups fresh plums 2 cups chopped nectarines 1 cup raisins 1 orange, seeds removed 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon Dash ginger

Finely chop plums, raisins and orange. Cook uncovered, until thick. Stir in nuts and spices. Pour into hot, sterilized jars. Seal.

Truth-in-Menu regulations are now being enforced in the District of Columbia. If it says Idaho potato on the menu, the potato better not have grown up in Maine.

The D.C. government is offering a free booklet to help you understand menu language. The "Menu Dictionary: A Food Language Guide for the Consumer," is available by writing to: Environmental Health Administration, 415 12 St. NW, Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20004.

Two weeks after A&P brought no-brand groceries to Washington for the first time, another area supermarket jumped on the band wagon, grouping some of its regular house brand products together in its stores and advertising them as "No-Frills."

Giant Food, which at the time A&P unveiled its 12 brandless groceries said it had no plans to follow suit, is now offering 12 products, most of which are now priced exactly the same as those being sold at A&P.

In other efforts to help shoppers fight food inflation, Giant offers low cost recipes in its weekly food ads. And Safeway has just announced an "Inflation Fighter" program. Both advertised and in-store promotions will be tagged with an inflation fighter symbol as a way to help consumers in "stretching their food dollar . . ." by purchasing products which are considered especially good buys.

The National Archives is offering copies of four full color World War I posters which exhorted the citizenry to support the war on the home front.

Three of the posters are food related. One depicts a series of canning jars filled with fruits and vegetables from the home garden. Another is a display of fish, vegetables and fruit, offered as an alternative to foods which were needed in the armed forces. The third extols the benefit of eating fish.

The other poster, done for the Treasury Department, depicts Joan of Arc. It calls on the women of the country to save America by buying War Stamps.

The series of four posters, each of which measures 20 by 26 inches can be purchased at the Constitution Avenue sales desk, 8th and Constitution NW, of the National Archives. Each costs $1.50 or $4 for the set.

The posters also may be purchased by mail for $2.50 a piece or $6.50 for four. Make checks payable to NATS (NEPS) and send to: Cashier, National Archives (GSA), Washington, D.C. 20408.

A native New Orleanian has written to scold us for a gaff made in the story about that city's famous restaurant, Mother's, noted from its "Po Boy" sandwiches.

"Unfortunately, you are not a native New Orleanian, yourself, or you would have been better able to describe to your reader's the ingredients of the Creole mustard. In fact, the mustard is pure, no horseradish is added at all. The mustard is made by Zatarain's, Incorporated and is available in most of the shops in the Washington, D.C. area."

The letter writer is absolutely right, but I didn't make up the horseradish part. In going over my notes, I find reference to horseradish in my interview with one of the members of the family which owns the restaurant. Either he "misspoke" or I "misheard."

An unfortunate, but hopefully, not unforgivable error.

With or without horseradish, Po Boys are delicious.