January 11, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Nitrates in Commercial Baby Food

[In regards to your earlier posting about nitrates and baby food], someone told me that baby food companies can screen for nitrates, any truth to that?

-- Kate (last name unknown)
Via the blog

That is certainly true, but it does not mean those products are nitrate-free.

Nitrates are naturally occurring in many vegetables and can not be removed.

That said, since nitrate levels in vegetables can differ depending on growing conditions (i.e.: the amount of nitrogen in the soil and water), it is very possible to get batches of spinach with higher amount of nitrates than others.

When screening nitrate amounts, individual companies simply set up their own criteria ("we only use vegetables containing x number of parts per million of nitrates or less") and apply it when making baby food.

"Screened for nitrates" does not mean "nitrate free."

Remember, though, babies six months and older are in no danger by eating foods that naturally contain nitrates.

"Screened for nitrates" is a marketing, much like adding vitamins to soda or a pinch of fiber to cookies.

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