Tender Quick? Why not just regular salt? Italian sausage isn't usually cured, from what I understand, so why go the nitrates route? How does it differ?
Nitrates and/or nitrites are used in the making of Italian sausage. Nitrate and Nitrite Compounds – not only help kill bacteria, but also produce a characteristic flavor, and give meat a pink or red color.
Botulism in Latin is "botulus"...or "sausage". This probably refers to the shape of the organism, but the irony is, sausage making can easily produce this serious illness, not to mention E. coli infections also!
BTW, the dextrose in Morton's also helps to ferment beneficial bacteria such as lactobacilli. This process is in fact a form of fermentation, and, in addition to reducing further the ability of the spoilage bacteria to grow - it also gives the sausage it's characteristic flavor!
Especially for the home sausage maker, where sterile equipment is seldom used, I highly recommend the use of Morton's Tender Quick!