Series: residue from production to the plate

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Series: residue from production to the plate

In agricultural production, various tools are used for quality assurance and yield improvement. For this purpose, fertilizing, plant protection and veterinary medicinal products. In case of improper application, residues in food can result.


Among the residues refers to residues of substances while the primary production of plant or animal food use, to achieve certain effects. You will protect, among other things, used for the harvest from spoilage, yields, or to improve and to provide hygienic and flawless products. Legal provisions stipulate that their use shall be limited to a minimum. These substances are not degraded during the life time of the plants or animals or to consumption of the food fully, they remain as residues in the food. For these residues are set by the legislature for the protection of the consumer, maximum residue limits. Compliance with these maximum quantities is controlled by the authorities on a regular basis.

Plant protection products in sweet peppers

Behind such terms as herbicides, fungicides and insecticides used to protect crops from weeds, fungal diseases and insects to hide. According to their function, they are organisms toxic to the target, and thus protect the Plant, for example, against attack by undesirable plant diseases. At the same time, you can however have unpleasant side effects for humans and the environment. The use of these plant protection products is subject to strict legal regulations, which has led to the pollution of plant products over the last decades has steadily declined. However, residues of these substances cannot be ruled out in food, especially in the case of improper application. According to the report on food monitoring in 2004, Exceedances of the maximum levels were found in particular in vegetables, peppers, lettuce, arugula, Apples and berries for fruit. Furthermore, it was found that the imported goods are often charged significantly more than domestic products. Especially samples from Spain and Turkey, for example, in the case of sweet peppers, a striking. In addition, studies show that the level of Residue of plant protection products outside the natural growth periods of the plants is higher.

Nitrate in lettuce and arugula

Nitrate is a naturally occurring substance that is important for the growth of plants is indispensable. For optimal plant growth in agricultural production by Düngemaßnahmen continuously for nitrate replenishment in the soil. Due to intensive agricultural fertilization, it can be held to higher Nitrate in ground water and soil. From there, nitrate also passes through the roots of the food plants. The nitrate content, however, is not alone of the fertilization-dependent. There are vegetables that store nitrate in large extent, while other varieties tend to have only little to the enrichment. Especially leafy and root vegetables, such as lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, chard, spinach, radish, Radishes and beetroot are sometimes very high concentrations of Nitrate. In the framework of food Monitoring in 2004, high levels of nitrate were particularly negative levels in lettuce and arugula.

From nitrate via nitrite to nitrosamines

Nitrate itself has no direct health risk to humans. Only after conversion to nitrite, it can endanger the human health. The conversion to nitrite can be carried out by bacteria, for example, in the case of long-term storage of food at room temperature, but also by bacteria in the mouth and stomach.

  • Nitrite can cause hinder in infants the oxygen transport in the blood and thus a “Methemoglobinemia” Blue (Cyanosis).
  • Nitrite can be used in conjunction with secondary amines are nitrogen-containing chemical Compounds found in many foods and also in the digestion arise – so-called nitrosamines. Animal experiments have shown that certain nitrosamines are highly carcinogenic.

In the production of animal food medicines to be used not only to treat diseases but also as a fattening tool. Antibiotics such as Chloramphenicol and Beta-agonists such as Clenbuterol are used to improve the fattening results. For each medicine, waiting times are set, must be adhered to. (As the waiting time means the time that must be elapsed until the animal can be slaughtered.) Increasingly, the Problem of development of resistance is discussed to antibiotics, which are promoted by the wide use of antibiotics in animal production. Unclear, a possible contribution of veterinary medicines to the emergence of allergies. Also about possible long-term effects of these substances on the human body is so far little known. For this reason, the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed since the beginning of this year, EU countries will be prohibited. Overall, the arrears problem seems to be in animal foods, however, of minor importance. The results of the National control plan state show that only 0.19 per cent of the investigated samples of animal origin exceeded in the year 2004, the legally stipulated maximum quantities. In the framework of the National control plan, the States have led more than 350,000 studies of over 46,000 animals and animal Products such as meat, milk, eggs or honey.

Food without residues

The current results for the safety of our food show, that our daily fare is charged only slightly with residues. At least, will only be exceeded a small percentage of the maximum values. Completely free of residues in our food are not, however. It is also unclear what effect is exerted by multiple residues, i.e. the combination of different active substances on our body. When shopping and in the processing of foodstuffs, some things should be noted, in order to keep the intake of residues as low as possible.

  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating, thoroughly. Residues of plant protection products can be reduced.
  • Strawberries in the Winter on the dining plan? They eat according to the season. Outside of the seasonal growth, often higher doses of plant protection products are needed, etc.
  • You consume nitrate-rich vegetables, not to often.
  • Keep nitrate-rich vegetables warm for a long time. Bacteria can rebuild, at these temperatures, optimally multiply and nitrate to nitrite. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and heat again if necessary.
  • Make sure it has a good quality of animal food. Numerous producers undertake in the framework of quality labels and quality marks high-quality and safe food to offer.