SURVEY OF SODIUM, POTASSIUM, IRON AND CALCIUM CONTENTS OF RETAIL SAMPLES OF SOME PROCESSED FOODS (BREAKFAST CEREALS AND SNACKS) SOLD IN NSUKKA, ENUGU STATE
Processed foods have been noted to be generally, high in sodium but, low in potassium. Some of these foods such as snacks often provide a quick bite at work and school and often do not provide the needed nutrients such as calcium and iron needed in adequate quantities. The food categories sampled were biscuits, sausages, cakes/pastries and breakfast cereals. Sodium, potassium, calcium and iron concentrations were determined within and across the above named food categories. The various foods sampled (biscuit, sausage, cake/pastries and breakfast cereals) had varying concentrations of sodium, potassium, calcium and iron. Mean sodium contents obtained by flame photometry were, 258.14±30.46 mg/100g for biscuits, 260.42± 34.41 mg/100g for sausage, 263.57±32.63 mg/100g for cakes/pastries and 265.82±35.12 mg/100g for breakfast cereals. The mean sodium content of biscuit 258.14±30.46 mg/100g was close to the target set by United Kingdom Food Standard Agency (UKFSA) (270-450mg/100g) but, lower than the value of 629mg/100g set by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control(NAFDAC). Sodium level in cake (303.03±21.69 mg/100g) was within the reference range set by UKFSA (200-400mg/100g); and was quite close to the standard set by NAFDAC (300 mg/100g). The average sodium content across food samples ranged from 231.47±5.02 mg/100g (biscuit) to 312.50±8.19 mg/100g (breakfast cereals). From the values, the consumption of 100g of biscuit, sausage, cake/pastries and breakfast cereals would contribute 10.76, 10.85, 10.99 and 11.09% respectively to the recommended daily intake (RDI) of sodium. The mean potassium concentrations were 136.51±21.06 mg/100g for biscuits, 130.11p±9.71 mg/100g for sausage, 155.91±15.44 mg/100g for cakes/pastries and 157.62±29.55 mg/100g for breakfast cereals.These contributed 3.89% for biscuit, 3.71% for sausage, 4.45% for cake/pastries and 4.54% for breakfast cereals to the recommended potassium intake. The mean iron contents were1.59±0.41 mg/100g for biscuits, 2.46±1.10 mg/100g for sausage, 1.86±0.64 mg/100g for cakes/pastries, and 1.89±1.04 mg/100g for breakfast cereals. Iron content ranged from 1.14 mg/100g for biscuitto 4.08 mg/100g for fortified breakfast cereals. Mean calcium concentrations were, 116.14±58.39 mg/100g (for biscuit), 112.67±32.22 mg/100g (for sausage), 89.78±25.32 mg/100g (for cake/pastries) and 139.90±25.63 mg/100g (breakfast cereals). Calcium concentration varied widely across food samples, ranging from 42 mg/100g (biscuit) to 402 mg/100g (fortified breakfast cereals). The calcium content of biscuit showed a significant difference (p<0.05), ranging from 42±2.0 to 222.67±1.76 mg/100g, while that of breakfast cereals varied from 43±3.46 to 402±2.0mg/100g.