Plant toxins in frozen products: Öko-Test finds carcinogenic substances in herbal mixtures
Created: 03/01/2023 14:17
By: Isabelle Jentzsch
Better fresh or frozen?
Öko-Test took a closer look at frozen herbal mixtures.
(Iconic image) © Imago Images/Panthermedia/Pic Passion
Frozen herbs ensure fresh greens on the plate in winter.
But not all of them have healthy ingredients.
Öko-Test tested seventeen mixtures.
Munich – Fresh herbs are not only healthy and full of vitamins, they also taste delicious and look good in soups, salads and dishes.
But in winter they are usually difficult to get fresh and the herb garden doesn't look like much anymore.
As an alternative, you can use frozen herbs.
The flash-frozen greens are still full of vitamins and taste.
Öko-Test has now tested 17 of these frozen herbal mixtures.
Eight of the 17 herbal mixtures carry an organic seal, but all have been tested in the laboratory for their microbiological quality to find possible contamination with toxins or bacteria.
A total of seven of the frozen herb mixtures were rated "very good" and six with "good." The organic products in particular convinced the consumer advocates.
However, Öko-Test discovered harmful substances in some products.
Öko-Test finds carcinogenic plant toxins in three herbal mixtures
Harmful plant toxins, so-called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA), were detected in three products.
PAs are pollutants that certain plants and fungi produce to protect themselves from predators.
For humans, these pollutants are organ-damaging, especially the liver can be affected.
In animal experiments, PAs have also been shown to be carcinogenic and mutagenic.
The plant toxins get into the frozen mixtures mainly through accidentally harvested weeds, but in two of the products examined one of the ingredients is responsible for the high PA values: borage.
The herb produces its own pyrrolizidine alkaloid, which has the complicated name of "lycopsamine N-oxide."
That is why the herbal mixtures
"Edeka Bio 8 herbs"
"Frosta 8 herbs" failed
the test with the grade "poor".
The laboratory was also able to detect pesticides in all nine conventional frozen herbal mixtures, but only traces of them.
Only in the eight organic mixtures were no pesticides found.
The organic products also scored with the origin of the herbs.
They all come from the EU and Germany.
Conventional manufacturers, on the other hand, source some of the ingredients from China and India.
Organic frozen herbal mixtures convince in the Öko-Test
The two Iglo products received the grade "good", as did the "Kräutergarten Mediterran" from Bofrost.
The test winners who were awarded the grade "very good" by Öko-Test include:
"Organic Organic Herbs Italian Style" by Netto
“Italian style herbs” from Ökoland
“Bio 6 herbs” from Rewe
"K-Bio 6 herbs" from Kaufland
"All Seasons 8 herbs" from Aldi
Öko-Test warns: Do not thaw frozen herbs
In order to avoid the spread of germs and to get the best taste, Öko-Test recommends sprinkling the frozen herbs directly from the packaging onto the food and not thawing them beforehand.
Consumer advocates also point out that borage naturally contains plant toxins.
Pregnant women and children should therefore sort out the herb and use herbal mixtures without borage as an ingredient.