Objective: To identify commercial baby food varieties high in nitrate content using ion chromatography and compare the health risk associated with the consumption of high-nitrate water and high-nitrate commercial baby food.
Design: Ion chromatographic determination of nitrate concentration in a variety of commercial baby foods.
Setting: University Hygienic Laboratory, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City.
Results: Commercial baby foods with nitrate levels higher than 45 ppm include mixed vegetables, bananas, carrots, garden vegetables, spinach, green beans, and beets. The amount of nitrate in one 113-g (4 oz) jar of beets, for example, is equivalent to the amount of nitrate in nearly 5.5 L of water at 45 ppm nitrate.
Conclusions: A controlled clinical trial is needed to clarify how consuming high-nitrate foods correlates with methemoglobin levels in infants younger than 6 months.