Frozen spinach contaminated with cadmium and nitrates

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Ökotest: Almost half of the spinach varieties from the supermarket are contaminated with cadmium and nitrates

In principle, spinach is healthy. But the food industry does everything it can to destroy even the healthiest food. A test carried out by Ökotest's consumer advocates showed that around 50 percent of conventional spinach varieties from the deep-freeze department are contaminated. The Edeka chain has already responded and has taken off its own spinach product because the load limit was clearly exceeded.

"Spinach is a recommended vegetable that contains many valuable nutrients such as magnesium, iron, calcium, vitamin E and provitamin A," write the food experts. "However, harmful substances such as nitrites and cadmium can quickly accumulate in the leaves of the green vegetables." Cadmium in particular can lead to kidney and bone damage in certain quantities. The pollutant is also so dangerous because it is broken down very slowly by the human organism and therefore accumulates for a long time. This means that even if the prescribed values ​​are not exceeded, potentiation takes place over time.

Especially contaminated conventionally grown types of spinach
As reported by Ökotest, the laboratory test even showed that, for example, a sample of the “Edeka leaf spinach selected spinach variety” contained high levels of cadmium. "The maximum allowed was exceeded twice," as the testers report. The supermarket chain Edeka acted immediately after the announcement and removed the affected batch from the trade.

Other products were also heavily burdened in some cases. Therefore, Ökotest had to make devaluations. In ‘Flanders Best Spinach’, very high nitrite values ​​were determined. According to Ökotest, these values ​​can result from a lack of hygiene or too long storage of the spinach before the frost. The pollutant triggers dangerous nitrosamines in the body, which can hinder oxygen transport in the blood in infants. The product "Real Quality Leaf Spinach" was also unsatisfactory. According to the investigators, "greatly increased nitrate and cadmium values ​​were measured". In addition to the conventional types of spinach, organic products were also tested. While all organic leaf spinach performed well or very well, Norma Perchlorat was found in the "Bio Sonne Young Organic Leaf Spinach". In addition, there was also an increased nitrate value. The chemical can interfere with the absorption of iodine in the thyroid. The European Union (EU) has set a reference value for this chemical, which initially only applies until legal regulations have been created.

Organic products did very well
However, it can be seen that the organic spinach generally performed significantly better than the conventionally grown one. The latter were significantly more frequently contaminated with substances that were harmful to health. At least four organic spinach were able to achieve the top grade "Very Good". These showed no elevated nitrate levels and only contained traces of cadmium that cannot be avoided due to the general environmental pollution. The test winners: "Biotrend organic leaf spinach" from Lidl and "Gut organic leaf spinach" from Aldi Nord were not only barely burdened but also very cheap in terms of price (0.48 euros per 200 grams). The “Alnatura leaf spinach” was just as good, but a little more expensive at 0.80 cents per 200 grams. The "Denree spinach, chopped" also achieved a very good result. This cost 62 cents per 200 grams in the test.

Important for preparation
There are a few important points to keep in mind when preparing spinach. It is best not to cook the frozen spinach thawed in a little water. To avoid the formation of nitrites, the spinach should not be kept warm for a long time. If you have leftovers, you can put them cold in the fridge. Warmed up spinach should nevertheless remain taboo for children under three years of age. The testers' summary: spinach is and remains a healthy food. However, consumers should prefer to use organic spinach to minimize the risk of pollutants. (sb)

Image: Uschi Dreiucker /

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