Nitrate and nitrite derive from fertilisers used in agriculture and are used as food preservatives. They are often detected in contaminated drinking water, cured meat products as well as fruits and vegetables. Exposure at high levels can result in severe health issues. Regulatory limits exist for nitrate and nitrite in a variety of food products in the EU and elsewhere.
Nitrates are a valuable chemical within grown foods such as a range of green vegetables. It has an important role to play when preserving foodstuffs as well as improving flavour in certain foods. However, high, sustained levels of nitrates in human diets can cause negative effects and lead to potentially harmful consequences.
Nitrates contamination can occur in lettuce when the plants absorb more than they require for growth. This can occur both within organic and fertiliser-led farming practices, dependent on the soil quality. As such the accumulation of nitrates in vegetables requires constant effective testing from which to highlight any potentially unsafe levels that could affect human health.
To maintain the high quality testing needed to identify accurately these potentially unsafe levels, well-designed quality assurance processes should be put into practice. Fapas quality control materials can be used within this to standardise your testing practices through staff training arrangements, as well as proving integral to achieving accurate testing instrumentation through verification uses.