Chlorate in food: what you should know

Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / PublicDomainPictures

Chlorate can be found in food, for example when it is used as a disinfectant during production. If you ingest too much chlorate, it can damage your health.

Chlorate is the salt of chloric acid. In chlorate, therefore, chlorine is present in a chemical compound. Chlorates can be harmful to health even in low concentrations. If a person ingests more than three micrograms of chlorate per kilogram of body weight over a long period of time, this is a problem according to EFSA the iodine intake. iodine is what the body needs so that the thyroid gland can produce important hormones.

With a short-term intake of more than 36 micrograms per kilogram of body wiped per day, the described EFSAthat chlorate can damage the kidneys and reduce the uptake of oxygen in the blood. 0.7 milligrams allowed according to WHO contain a liter of drinking water at most. Compliance with the prescribed maximum levels is particularly important for pregnant women, newborns, children and people with thyroid problems and iodine deficiency.

Chlorate – which foods are contaminated?

Chlorate can be found in frozen vegetables.
Chlorate can be found in frozen vegetables.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / fotoblend)

The health assessment of chemical substances does not depend on whether chlorine occurs in a chemical compound, but on the properties of the specific compound. Sodium chloride (NaCl), for example, is common Table salt and in moderation by no means unhealthy but vital, while chlorate can be harmful to health.

The harmful chlorate can be found in various foods. To Information from the BfR it can be found, for example, in fruit and frozen vegetable products as well as on lettuce and herbs. Öko-Test describesthat various supermarkets have recalled frozen fish because of high chlorate levels. Should you eat fish, also make sure not to consume overfished species.

Even in coconut milk, the consumer protection magazine Chlorate detected – In the current test report, however, organic coconut milk no longer showed any increased chlorate values. Especially with exotic foods, it is worth it anyway Bio– and Fair tradeSeal to be respected to protect workers and the environment.

Chlorate in drinking water

When food is processed, chlorate can migrate into food.
When food is processed, chlorate can migrate into food.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / jaymethunt)

According to the BfR The substance gets into the food if disinfectants containing chlorine are used in the water during the production process. When using the agent, chlorate can form. Before 2009, chlorate could also be transferred to food through pesticides. Since then, however, plant protection products are no longer allowed to contain chlorate in the EU.

Since chlorate is not used as an additive, but ends up in the food as a residue from production, you cannot find the substance on the list of ingredients of the product. You can usually find out whether a product is contaminated by current test reports from the consumer protection sector, which can be found online or in relevant magazines.


  • Chlorine allergy: causes, symptoms, and what to do
  • Sodium chloride: its effects in shampoo and cosmetics
  • Calcium chloride in food: application and effect of the additive


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