Analysis Request – Metals
Metals make their way into beverages during the production process. Raw materials used, process type and equipment, bottling, maturation and adulteration – all involve the uptake of metals. In high concentrations metals may result in spoilage or hazing, and may have a detrimental impact on human health. However, metals also actively participate in the fermentation process, provide pathways for dietary intake of some essential nutrients, and can remove offensive odours and tastes in beverages. The presence of metals in your beverage can thus have both a positive or negative affect, depending on the metal involved and the levels present. It therefore needs to be carefully monitored and regulated.
Concentrations and types of metals in beverages can vary widely. Common metals tested in wine and beer includes copper, iron, potassium, calcium and sodium. Heavy metal testing, generally being arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, is required by law throughout all beverage industries.
Copper, iron, potassium and calcium – when present in high levels – may result in sedimentation or haze formation in your finished product. Heavy metals are regulated and carefully monitored as they may have severe effects on human health. They accumulate in the body over long periods of time, leading to chronic toxic effects.
The frequency of testing metals depends on the type of beverage produced. For quality control purposes, wine and beer requires more frequent testing. For instance: wine is frequently tested for calcium and potassium as these elements may result in crystal formation. Copper and iron, however, are more readily monitored in beer due to haze formation.
For beverage quality control purposes, metals are tested throughout the production process. As heavy metals are regulated, testing is generally only done on finished products to ensure samples are safe for human consumption.
Anyone involved in the extensive beverage industry should be aware of metal levels present in products. All beverages should be tested for heavy metals as regulated.