Dangerous pollutants: arugula is often contaminated with nitrate
At the beginning of the year, the consumer magazine “Öko-Test” reported that numerous toxins had been found in the lamb's lettuce. A recent test by the Stiftung Warentest showed that rocket, too, is often contaminated with dangerous pollutants.
Rich in important minerals
Arugula, also known as rocket, has become one of the most popular types of salad in Germany in recent years. Its slightly hot taste, reminiscent of cress and walnuts, makes it the ideal ingredient in delicious salads, soups, spreads and numerous other dishes. Arugula is low in calories and rich in minerals such as potassium and iron. The leaves also contain plenty of beta-carotene, folic acid and mustard oils. Although arugula is very healthy, not too much should be consumed. Because there are often many pollutants in the salad, as the Stiftung Warentest reports.
Too much nitrate in arugula
As it says in the magazine "test" (edition 04/2017), eight out of nine packs contain too much nitrate. The examiners gave the grade "satisfactory" only once, and the verdict eight times: "Sufficient".
The Edeka rocket leaves therefore contained the least nitrate.
According to the testers, consumers have less to worry about other pollutants - with one unpleasant exception: Significant amounts of perchlorate were found in a rocket - but still below the EU reference value.
Too much perchlorate can inhibit the thyroid from absorbing iodine. Possible consequences are fatigue and susceptibility to infections.
When nitrate becomes nitrite
"Nitrate itself is relatively harmless," writes the foundation. But when nitrate becomes harmful nitrite, for example due to incorrect transportation or storage, it can become dangerous.
Nitrite can react with proteins in the body to form nitrosamines that are suspected of causing cancer.
"The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that up to 3.7 milligrams of nitrate per kilogram of body weight are safe for adults," the testers report.
We not only ingest nitrate from lettuce and vegetables, but also, for example, from cured foods. There is also too much nitrate in drinking water in some places.
Corn salads came off better in the test
In the current study, lamb's lettuce was also examined more closely. The examiners of the Stiftung Warentest only found the “Brio Feldsalat” from the organic supermarket chain Denn’s as “good”, seven achieved a “satisfactory”, one a “sufficient”.
Here, too, the nitrate levels were noticed negatively, although there is no legal maximum for lamb's lettuce.
Regarding all the products tested, the testers wrote: "We did not find any residues of pesticides or chlorate that were harmful to health in any salad."
Do not do without green
The Stiftung Warentest expressly points out that it is not a good idea to forego greening because of the results.
"Both the European Food Safety Authority and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment rate the positive effects of vegetables and fruits higher than the risks from too much nitrate," said the experts.
They continue: “It is better to pay attention to variety and consume naturally rich in nitrates such as rocket during the season from May to October. Because then the lettuce harvested here does not come from greenhouses and contains less nitrate. ”(Ad)