06 Sep Salt Reduction for South Africans
Salt may be an essential nutrient, but as we discover more about human health, it has become apparent that too much of it is far from beneficial. An excess of sodium in our diet can lead to various health complications, in particular coronary heart disease.
The Department of Health has published draft regulations to facilitate the reduction of the amount of sodium in processed food. The draft regulations to the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, published in the government gazette on July 11th 2012, Reg: 35509, apply to both local and imported food products.
Food manufacturers have until June 2016 to comply with the first set of sodium targets, and another two years to meet the next. Different thresholds have been set for various food groups, and interested parties have three months to submit their comments.
The regulation states that the analytical value for total sodium content, expressed in milligram shall be indicated on the label of foodstuffs per single serving and per 100g.
Microchem Lab Services offers Sodium analysis which is a SANAS accredited method. We make use of an ICP-OES (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometry) method to analyse for the following elements:
- Calcium (Ca),
- Copper (Cu),
- Iron (Fe),
- Potassium (K),
- Magnesium (Mg),
- Manganese (Mn),
- Sodium (Na),
- Phosphorus (P),
- Arsenic (As),
- Cadmium (Cd),
- Mercury (Hg) and
- Lead (Pb)
In matrices inclusive of food and foodstuffs, water, beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and environmental samples.
The analytical principle used in the ICP-OES systems is optimal emission spectroscopy. A liquid is nebulised and then vaporised within a argon plasma. The atoms and ions contained in the plasma vapour are excited to a state of radiated light (photon) emission. The radiation emitted can be passed to the spectrometer optics, where it is dispersed into its spectral components. From the specific wavelengths emitted by each element the spectral line is measured by means of a CCD (charge coupled device) detector. The instrument is capable of determining the concentration of a wide range of elements to very low detection limits (ppm and ppb levels).
Salt as Sodium Chloride Analysis
Microchem Lab Services also offer Salt analysis as Sodium Chloride (NaCl), which is a SANAS accredited method. The method used to determine the % Salt (NaCl) content of food and foodstuffs is by potentiometric titration. Potentiometric titration is a titrimetric method which measures the potential between two electrodes. The basic principle of Potentiometric titration is the determination of unknown concentration of analysed solution by titration with some standard solution. The auto titrator determination of the end point of the titration has several advantages over the visual indicator-based titrations. The visual determination of the end point of the titration could be influenced by subjective factors, and the technique cannot be easily applied to coloured solutions.