Especially in the cold season, chestnuts, nuts, dates and figs are eaten with great pleasure or used as an ingredient in baked goods. To ensure that these foods are in order, they are regularly tested by our experts for food regulations regarding labeling, sensory evaluation (tasting), microbiology, contamination (bad content), preservation and, among other things, for mold toxins(mycotoxins).
Determination of the bad portion
For the determination of impurities (impurity content) of nuts, dates, figs and chestnuts, 100 pieces are taken. The term "impurity" refers to fruit that is rotten, rancid, moldy, dried out and damaged by insects.
"Not fit for consumption" is a sample if more than 20 pieces out of 100 fruits are not fit for consumption. Fortunately, complaints about chestnuts are rare.
Pay attention to freshness: chestnuts are a seasonal product, they are available in stores from the beginning of September. They are best stored in a cool, dry place. Condensation in the refrigerator can promote mold. At room temperature, they quickly lose their freshness. Older chestnuts can be recognized by the fact that they can be pressed in. Holey shells indicate wormy chestnuts. Moldy chestnuts are no longer edible.
Chestnuts are easier to peel if they are placed in warm water (30 min) or boiled briefly (5 min) before cutting and roasting. The chestnuts need about 25 minutes in the oven at 180 - 200 °C to cook through. To prevent them from drying out, spraying them with water or placing a bowl of water on the baking tray will help. They should also not be roasted too dark, because otherwise harmful substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) can form.
In the Codex Chapter/B4/ Fruit IV. Edition of the Austrian Foodstuffs Codex, the permissible bad content of the selected foodstuffs is listed (for nuts 15%, for dates and figs 18%, for chestnuts 20%). If the permissible bad content is exceeded, the goods are considered 'unsafe - unfit for human consumption' and appropriate steps will be taken together with the food inspection authority, which may lead to a product recall and the destruction of the goods concerned.
Nuts and dried fruit are tested for mycotoxins (aflatoxins, ochratoxin A) at regular intervals. These are harmful metabolic products produced by various molds. Mycotoxins are largely heat-stable and are not destroyed by cooking and baking.
Another important point for dried fruit is preservation with sulfurous acid. Preservatives must generally be indicated as such in the list of ingredients of foodstuffs in accordance with Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011. Especially sulfur dioxide and sulfites can trigger intolerance reactions in sensitive persons and must be labeled with a clear notice (in bold, italic or otherwise highlighted in the ingredient list) on the packaging from a concentration of 10 mg/kg. According to the Additives Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1129/2011), dried fruits may be preserved with sulfurous acid. However, the regulation prescribes a maximum content of sulfurous acid, which is checked by us at regular intervals.
Last updated: 27.11.2023