Nitrate in baby foods. Adding to the nitrate mosaic

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994 May;148(5):490-4. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170050048009.


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.

Patients: None.

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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Chromatography, Ion Exchange
  • Colorimetry
  • Environmental Health
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food / analysis*
  • Maximum Allowable Concentration
  • Methemoglobinemia / chemically induced
  • Methemoglobinemia / epidemiology
  • Methemoglobinemia / prevention & control
  • Nitrates / adverse effects*
  • Nitrates / analysis*
  • Nitrates / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Supply / analysis*


  • Nitrates
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical