With barbecue season approaching, people will start craving a side of ketchup to partner their meat. Ketchup may however contain a variety of substances which come with legal limits. These substances include pesticides, mould toxins, and ergosterol.
Along with the aforementioned substances, ketchup also includes lycopene. High amounts of lycopene in ketchup is considered a good thing. This is because lycopene is a colouring agent, which gives tomatoes their deep red colour, indicating a ripe fruit. This substance is one of the healthiest components of a tomato, as it is has antioxidant properties which are highly beneficial to the body’s cells.
During various tests, the substance ergosterol was found in organic tomato ketchups. This substance does not pose any direct health threats when consumed. This is despite ergosterol being a mould toxin which occurs when a tomato has ripened past its point of desirability.
While testing for lycopene in ketchup gives us an indicator of how many tomatoes/sun-ripened tomatoes were processed in the product, testing for ergosterol gives us an indication of the quantity of mouldy tomatoes used.
The tests performed in the study concluded that tomato ketchup can also contain pesticide traces. While most pesticides are legal in small quantities, it is important that set limits are not exceeded.
Ensuring the quality of ketchup
The laboratories within the Tentamus Group test ketchup for pesticide to make sure they do not exceed the limits written in law. Furthermore, tests to determine ergosterol and lycopene contents are performed, which determine the quality of the tomato ketchup. Along with these tests, the product’s sensory attributes such as smell, texture, and taste are evaluated by experts.
These tests are designed to reduce product recalls for the manufacturer, allowing them to provide a safe, high-quality product which allows consumers to enjoy barbecue season with their favourite ketchup.
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