From Farms to Grocery Stores: How You Can Use Your HPLC Training to Keep Food Safe
High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) can be used to analyze food, by injecting samples into a solvent and carrying them through a column. The components of the sample will react differently, exiting the column separately. This allows for the properties of food to be monitored with regards to residues like pesticides and antibiotics, contaminants like melamine and other components in our food that can endanger or threaten public safety. Health Canada sets guidelines for what is and isn’t allowed to be in our food, as well as how much is acceptable. Read on for how HPLC can be used to keep consumers safe and healthy, by keeping our food clean!
High Performance Liquid Chromatography Catches Melamine in Dairy
When water is added to milk to increase its volume, the protein concentration is diluted. This means that when companies making processed milk products test the milk, it will read as low protein concentration. Because this testing is done using nitrogen content, if there is a way to increase that reading, the tests can be altered. Melamine is used as an additive to the milk, to bump up the nitrogen content and make it appear as though the protein concentration is still high. This is not allowed in Canada and adding melamine to food is not approved by the WHO, as it is a harmful substance.
To make sure products don’t contain melamine, hplc training can be applied to testing for melamine using Reversed Phase HPLC, or RP-HPLC. The mobile phase in RP-HPLC uses a polar solvent like water, as opposed to HPLC in which it is non-polar, using no water.
HPLC Training can Help you Protect the Public from Pesticides
Pesticides on vegetables and fruits are a reality of food production and agriculture. Trace amounts, or residues, can remain on the plants after they are harvested potentially making their way onto dinner tables. Limits are placed by governments as to how much of these chemicals can be on food that is supplied to the public. In Canada, maximum residue limits, or MRLs, are specified under the Pest Control Products Act.
Using HPLC, we can determine what the pesticide levels are in plants before the public eats them. For example, apples are grown using high levels of pesticides, which has been a topic in the media of late. HPLC is used on apple juice to be sure an unsafe level of residues is not present. This allows you to use your education to be a bit of a hero – high pesticide levels are associated with an array of health risks.
Antibiotics in Meat can be Bad News, and HPLC can fix That
Antibiotics are another substance that have MRLs determined by governments. Many people think of Antibiotics as what they were given to fight a nasty infection or a case of strep throat – but they can also do harm when used inappropriately in our food. Antibiotics are sometimes used on animals to increase growth and feed efficiency. This causes the animals to develop resistant bacteria. When humans ingest the bacteria, it can lead to infection.
High performance liquid chromatography can be used to detect traces of antibiotics in meat, determining whether they exceed the limit established by Health Canada. Health Canada takes into account toxicological health risks in establishing what is safe, protecting Canadians from these resistant “superbugs” that can cause serious illness.
Are you interested in a HPLC program?
Contact Toronto Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology for more information.