Chemically contaminated food has severe implications for the health of individuals. There is a wide range of harmful effects ranging from mild gastric problems to fatalities. There is a strong connection between chemical contaminants and severe consequences, lack of control, and long-term results.
We will discuss how harmful chemicals get into our food and how they are tested for in food. As well as legal requirements, we will discuss the laws that have been put into place to ensure that our food is safe.
What Is Chemical Testing In Food?
The process of food chemistry testing is used to determine the contents of our food. It ensures consistency in quality and makes it easier to keep track of what we eat.
Simple chemical tests can identify several important compounds in food. Tests can measure a substance’s presence in food or determine how much is present. Testing for the major types of organic compounds: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is an example of an important test.
Examples Of Chemical Contaminants
There are four primary examples of chemical contaminants in food which include:
- heavy metals – lead and mercury
- organic pollutants – dioxins
- The chemical acrylamide may be found in processed foods
These contaminants may be natural or manufactured. Several other substances may also pose a chemical impurity, such as nitrogen, bleach, salts, pesticides, metals, and bacteria-produced toxins.
How Do Chemicals Enter Our Food?
Multiple sources of chemical contaminants can enter the food chain. Various environmental sources can cause contamination during primary production, including:
- waste from factories
- Land that is contaminated naturally or as a result of accidents
- Dioxins, halogenated organic compounds, and heavy metals can be found in contaminated water
- Toxins found in plants – mycotoxins
- Contamination from weeds, for example, plant toxins
- Contaminants in animal feed carried over to humans
- Conditions such as rain during critical stages of the growing and harvesting process can increase the production of mycotoxins
Secondary production can also introduce chemical contaminants to the food chain:
- For example, acrylamide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are released during cooking and processing
- Storing, for example, mycotoxins
- Managing the movement of food
Chemical contaminants can cause health problems at certain levels. To reduce the dietary exposure of consumers, it is necessary to manage their levels in food. Good practices and regulatory controls are in place to manage the risk from these contaminants and reduce their levels in food.
What Are The Types Of Chemical Tests?
Several different types of chemical tests are conducted on food.
Food moisture analysis
There are several reasons why food can taste better, last longer, retain its texture, weigh better, and have a longer shelf life if it has significant moisture content.
The nutritional analysis enables professionals to offer consumers complete dietary information and ensure food content conforms to FDA regulations.
pH levels play a crucial role in determining food quality. For instance, in water-bath canning, food must have a pH lower than 4.6 to prevent harmful bacteria from growing. To protect fermented products from spoilage, meat should have a pH of less than 5.8, and most wines should have a pH of 3 to 4.
It is essential to be able to accurately assess sodium content, especially for people with kidney disease or on certain medications.
They are usually used to measure the acidity of beer and wine and are considered a more reliable measure when it comes to taste.
Bacteria grow more rapidly in more active waters.
Mass spectrometry Is typically is used to identify chemical contaminants such as pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, dyes, illegal compounds, and chemical impurities. These are all banned chemicals, as well as bisphenol-A, or BPA).
What Types Of Foods Get Tested For Containing Chemicals?
All types of food get tested for chemical contamination. Any product meant to be digested by human beings will get tested before it is allowed on the shelves. In countries that rely more on agricultural processes will get tested for pesticides and additives.
Water suppliers have even to get their products tested to ensure that consumers drink safe water and do not contain harmful substances that might cause health problems down the line.
Even though our foods are tested and regulated regularly, it is still essential that consumers take on the responsibility to ensure that the food they are eating is safe. If your food does not smell right, is slimy, has a funny texture, or anything else out of the ordinary, you need to inform the company that the batch you bought is not correct.
Are There Regulations For Chemicals In Food?
Regulatory controls play an important role in risk management. It sets forth the general principles and requirements of food law, as well as food safety procedures.
According to these food safety regulations, it is prohibited to place unsafe food on the market, and food shall be deemed dangerous if it is:
- The food is unfit to be consumed by humans
The levels of several chemicals in food are regulated by legislation. Laws prohibit the use of unhealthy additives and contaminants. In order to prevent chemical hazards from entering the food supply and harming the public, there must be effective surveillance and response systems. The FDA prescribes the minimum level of chemicals that can be present in food, such as pesticide levels should not exceed the limit.
As a result of chemical contamination in food, there are potential health hazards. Typically, food contamination occurs through naturally occurring toxins and environmental pollutants or when food is processed, packaged, prepared, stored, and transported. Detecting such contaminants is becoming easier as technology advances.
Several contaminants, however, remain unknown, and research in this area continues. However, it remains necessary to reduce the health risks and diseases associated with chemical food contamination, even though the government has taken adequate steps to minimize individual exposure.