To ensure our fresh spirulina is of the highest quality, we send our product out to third party labs for various Safety and Nutrition Testing. We are very proud to say that our spirulina is very pure, clean and nutrient rich. Here is a summary of the results.
1. Safety Tests
1.1 Microbes Test
Safety Test is mainly based on active microbes contained in our product. The tests are usually referring to aerobic tests because our products are in most cases exposed to aerobic condition (in the presence of air). A total of five indexes are used in the testing, including total coliforms, Escherichia Coli, standard plate counts, mold count and yeast count. Among those, the first two are hygiene indicators, and should be always low; standard plate counts provide a general indication of microbiological quality, but many of these microbes are actually harmless; the last two are spoilage groups and may produce toxins, so they should be low too.
We first collected Spirulina samples through our normal harvesting procedure of dewatering for a microbial test but we did not complete our normal rinse/wash step following the immediate collection in order to examine how clean our growing culture is. A high number of bacteria would normally be expected since no rinse is applied yet as per industry standards. As you can see from Table 1, all parameters fall into the criteria limits for ready-to-eat food, which means that our growing culture is already very clean and theoretically our dewatered Spirulina can be consumed directly without any wash or rinsing steps. Here we show the most recent safety test results for fresh SpiraVeg Spirulina samples. As a reference, some related acceptable limits are listed for a comparison.
Table 1 Microbial Test with non-wash fresh SpiraVeg Spirulina
|Microbiological Analysis||Result||Acceptable limits (a)|
|Standard Plate Count Aerobic 35oC||1020||<105|
(a): Acceptable limits cited from “Microbial Guidelines for Ready-to-Eat Foods: Guide for the Conveyance Industry and Environmental Health Officers (EHO)”, Health Canada, 2010;
We choose to do a secondary wash/rinsing step to remove any remaining trace amounts of chemical residues (nitrates), which is basically the elemental fertilizers and salts used in the growing stage. We perform a nitrate test using a nitrate stick (sodium nitrate is one of the fertilizers used) and every test we take shows no residual nitrates present in our Spirulina prior to packaging following our wash/rinse procedure.
1.2 Shelf Life Test
We do not use any preservatives in our Spirulina and microbial testing (food safety test) is completed to determine how long the product can be stored for and still be safe for human consumption once packaged (commonly referred to: Shelf Life). We went to four weeks with storage at 4°C and were amazed to see the microbial counts remained so low with the fresh Spirulina. By four weeks, the sample was showing significant signs of natural decay along with a lot of released cellular nutrient (visible as a liquid from the Spirulina cells rupturing over time). This is why we set a Best Before Date of two weeks following harvest on the fresh Spirulina due to the natural decay that happens and on average it is for the best flavor experience. It is safe for at least four weeks but like many things, fresh is best. We are very proud to say that our Spirulina is super clean, both from a microbial and chemical perspective.
Table 2 Microbial test with washed fresh SpiraVeg Spirulina
|Microbiological analysis||Day 1||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Acceptable limits(a)|
|Standard Plate Count Aerobic 35oC||70||<10||310||1900||770||<105|
1.3 Heavy Metal Test
Heavy metals content is a question we get from some of our customers often. Spirulina is like a sponge in nature that can easily absorb heavy metals from its growing environment if available and can then deliver to your body as you consume it (if its contaminated). On the same note, Spirulina can be very effective at extracting and removing heavy metals from your body but only when it is very clean to start with. Heavy metals in dirty spirulina can come from many different sources including: fertilizers, feed water, contact with metal pipes, pesticides, naturally occurring sources (for Spirulina grown outdoors) and other environmental pollution. We apply the highest standards in our indoor growing system and do further treatment of the municipal drinking water used in our system to minimize the heavy metal content. We start with tap water, then filter through an active carbon filter, then through a UV sterilizer filter before it enters our growing system. Table 3 is the test result showing how low the heavy metals are in our product.
Table 3 Heavy metal test for SpiraVeg Spirulina
|Metals Total (Trace)||Result (ppm)|
ND: Not detected
In contrast to these toxic heavy metals shown above, some metals are actually beneficial to humans. Those are considered as part of the nutrient content (but must be in trace amounts) and they are listed in the nutrition profile.
2. Nutrition test
The nutritional profile is provided based on the lab test results.
Table 4 shows a detailed list of nutritional content we have tested so far. We will keep posting other nutrient content as more parameters are tested in the near future.
Table 4 Nutrition profile for SpiraVeg Spirulina
|Nutrients||Content per 15 g (1 tbsp) SpiraVeg Spirulina|
|Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)||31 mg|
|Vitamin A||1110 mcg|
|Vitamin K||122 mcg|
|Vitamin B12||27.4 mcg|