Disclaimer:- This is the method I use and it may be wrong in some way. I have no qualifications in this area. Your comments are welcome firstname.lastname@example.org
adding new products to my low sodium website I
occasionally come across a few that I think may have the sodium
understated. A laboratory sodium
assay is the gold standard but costs me $32.45 (2011). I looked around
for a rough screening test and came across chloride test strips. These
can give an indication of the likely sodium level and are accurate
enough to highlight possible problems that should be considered in the
light of a proper laboratory test.The sort of problem that a $2.50
chloride test can uncover is a bread labelled sodium
100mg/100g that is actually 400mg/100g. It is difficult to declare a
labelled sodium level wrong. Determining the average sodium level that
should go on a
nutrition panel is not a simple process. In most cases there are
production tolerances and seasonal variations that have to be taken
into account so multiple samples need to be taken.
are a great many products where measuring the chloride can give a
good estimation of the sodium as most of the chloride is associated with added salt (sodium chloride)(NaCl). There
are some processed foods however that have excess sodium or
chloride from food additives and the sodium in them can not be deduced
from the chloride. One example is self raising flour which has a high
sodium level from the raising agents used as does anything made with
it. Some foods naturally have a,
usually low, background level of sodium or chloride and if this is
known from previous tests or from a food database, corrections can
be made for it.
many products like cheese the main difference in chloride
levels between samples relates to the amount of salt incorporated. As a
first approximation one could determine the chloride, assume that
it all came from salt and calculate a value for the associated sodium.
sodium and chloride in salt are in a fixed proportion which are
near enough to 393 parts sodium to 607 parts chloride. This method
ignores the possibility that some sodium or chloride may not be
associated with salt. By using a food database or prior
knowledge it may be possible to correct for this source of error.
Instead of assuming that all the chloride is associated with salt,
assume that the difference in chloride from the reference foods level
is associated with salt, take that difference, calculate the
associated sodium and apply the difference to the sodium
example. The average roast chicken (cofids database)
had sodium 80mg/100g and chloride 75mg/100g. If a chloride test
gave 75mg/100g the sodium estimate assuming all chloride was
associated with salt would give 48mg/100g. The method outlined above would
give 80mg/100g. A chloride level of 10mg/100g would give 6mg/100g by
the first method and 38mg/100g by the second. The improvement or
not in the sodium estimate that the outlined method makes, relies on the
similarity of the sample product to the reference product.
first step is to prepare a solution from the sample that the chloride
test strips can work with and to get all of the chloride into solution.
The strips have a chloride range of about 30 to 600mg/100g i.e. a
salt equivalent sodium of 20 to 400mg/100g. The aim is to make a
solution dilute enough so the liquid can easily wick up the test
strip but not so dilute or concentrated that the reading is off
the scale. You will soon get the hang of it. Perhaps the first time you
test a bread you will find that the bread crumbs have absorbed all your
water and not a drop remains to be filtered. You may also find problems
with oily samples that do not filter. I usually use around 10g of
finely divided sample with around 30g of water and allow it to
for 30 minutes with stirring at the beginning, middle and end. Here is an example form that I use when making a test Work sheet for Quantab test strips pdf.
it contains some explanations and a worked example in the notes. See below for a work sheet .doc to customise.
In order to make some adjustment for the sodium or chloride that may
not be caused by salt in the product there is mention on the form to
reference values of chloride and sodium. The only database I have been
able to find on line that shows chloride is in the form of a large
spreadsheet cofids.xls maintained by the UK Food Standards Agency. Not
having Microsoft Office I
use the free Open Office Calc to read it. Googleling for cofids.xls
it and the 2 explanatory pdf documents.
If you fold the filter paper in quarters it will fit exactly in a 60 degree filter funnel.
The only area that the liquid can then pass through is the small area
at the tip of the filter where it does not press against the sides of
the funnel. By making the second fold as shown and using the larger section
to form the cone the filter paper will only touch the funnel at the top
and the whole paper can pass fluid.
Results obtained when approximately 10g of minced rotisserie roast chicken from 3 shops was steeped in 30g water, Sodium
estimation 462, 285, 31mg/100g from chloride levels of 666, 393, 0
mg/100g using reference Cl 75mg/100g, Na 80mg/100g The results confirmed the taste.