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Frozen leaf spinach in test

Spinach has the image of being one of the healthiest vegetables out there. This might be due to a certain popular cartoon character or just simply hearing time and again how nutritious spinach is. However, not all spinach is all the same.

A recent study of frozen leaf spinach showed that nearly half of the tested products contained elevated levels of nitrate, nitrite and cadmium contents.


What are elevated levels of nitrate, nitrite and cadmium?


Nitrates are compounds that naturally occur in soil and fertilizers and can thus be found in some vegetables, such as spinach. Nitrite is the anion of the inorganic nitrite salts and nitrate is a nitrogen compound. While nitrates are unlikely to cause harm in their original form, when in contact with bacteria found in the mouth and stomach they can be converted to nitrites, which may be harmful in elevated levels. Nitrite can also be built by keeping spinach warm. Nitrites hinders oxygen transport and forms a compound with the body’s own amines and is so by converted to nitrosamines in the body, which are known to be carcinogenic.

According to the guidelines for vegetable products, the level of nitrite in deep-frozen spinach may not exceed 10 mg/kg.

Cadmium was found in nearly all of the tested frozen leaf spinaches, luckily only in a small dose. Cadmium is a heavy metal which can be found through natural occurrence and from industrial and agricultural sources. The consumption of cadmium may lead to an increased risk of cancer as well as kidney damage if consumed in increased doses over a longer period. Therefore, the maximum level of cadmium in food is laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1881/ 2006 and strictly monitored in the European Union.


How we can help you to guarantee good quality


Regular checks of your food product e.g. spinach, help to make sure your products are safe for consumption. Would you like to determine the nitrates, nitrites or cadmium of your frozen leaf spinach? Reach out to our specialist staff with many years of expertise! We will be happy to help you.


Nicole Schröer
+49 30 206 038 133


Source: Ökotest

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