What are eco-testers good for? How to protect ourselves from food with high nitrate content?

Today I want to discuss an important topic with you – How to protect yourself from food with the high content of nitrates.
I have recently moved to Cyprus and here I like to get my fruits and vegetables directly from farmers, who assure me that their products are fully organic, free of nitrates, etc.

Yes, they really taste much nicer than the supermarket stuff and they have rich smell.

However, I started to ask myself a question if I’m really making a safe choice and how healthy are these fresh fruit and vegetables I get every day?

It is common knowledge that different chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides are used for growing fruits and vegetables. The increased concentration of fertilizers in the soil can lead to the severe damage of your health. Out of all chemicals nitrates are the most harmful and if they are consumed by you daily, it can be bad news for your organism and will bring to developing serious diseases.

What are nitrates? 

Nitrates are nitric acid (HNO3) compounds which plants (fruits, vegetables) extract from the soil. Nitrates are harmless by themselves, but as soon as they get into our bodies, they are transformed into the poisonous nitrites.

Nitrates are specially dangerous for children.

Example of diseases caused by the high level of nitrates:

I think all of you know personally people who got food intoxication after consuming watermelons, cucumbers and mushrooms. Apart from the food intoxication, vomiting and diarrhea, the high level of nitrates can lead to such serious diseases as:

  • Methemoglobinemia (baby blue syndrome). It is blood disorder at which the insufficient level of oxygen is delivered to the cells. Usually hemoglobin carries oxygen through your blood, but in case of methemoglobinemia, the specific type of hemoglobin (called methemoglobin) is produced by your body. Methemoglobin carries the oxygen through your bloodstream, but it doesn’t bring it to the cells. If produced in excessive quantities methemoglobin starts replacing your normal hemoglobine which leads to hypoxia and its consequences such as headache, nausea, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate and fatigue. Even loss of consciousness in the most severe cases.
  • Cancer. After being consumed nitrates are converted to nitrites. After the reaction with natural and synthetic compounds nitrites produce N-Nitroso compounds, many of which are in fact, carcinogenic.
  • Birth Defects. It is possible that nitrites and N-Nitroso compounds are connected with birth defects.
  • Disruption of thyroid function.

So are we being exposed to dangerous chemicals while buying our fruits and vegetables from farmers? Unfortunately, the control over nitrate levels in fresh fruits and vegetables is neglected in most places. It is not a secret that many farmers use too much fertilizers and this will result in the dangerous level of the nitrate content in fruits and vegetables produced by them.

Is there a way to protect ourselves? 

Yes, there is. There are special devices called nitrate testers, eco-testers or green-testers. They are small and portable. They are meant to quickly determine the level of nitrates in fruits and vegetables you are about to buy.

Eco-testers are suitable for farmers, distributors, shop owners, restaurant owners, in fact, for all those people who want to protect their own health and the health of their customers/consumers.
In just three seconds you can make the decision whether you have made the right choice about the food you are going to get.

What are the dangers of green-testers?

You can become obsessed with measuring whatever food you are getting 🙂 Like I ended up doing )))
Apart from this humorous remark, there are no other dangers, only profits. And yes, don’t forget to wash your eco-tester probe after every use.


Review on the nitrate tester – Greentest Eco5

Nitrate tester – Greentest device Eco5 3-in-1.

When I came to the conclusion that nitrate tester is a nice thing to have at hand while doing my grocery shopping, I immediately started the research on the net in order to find the better option for me.

I am specially paranoid about nitrates in watermelons, melons, mushrooms and cucumbers as I heard about several cases of the food intoxication from my acquaintances.

I have discovered that the most advertised nitrate testers were:

  1. SOEKS EcoTester. The first SOEKS nitrate tester was produced in Russia in 2008 and since then it has become popular in other countries such as Japan and USA.
  2. Greentester. The company Anmez which produces GreenTest devices started its operation in Russia in 2006 with the help of American and Taiwan specialists. In 2014 the company moved to China.

Having read many reviews on Internet, I decided to go for the latest Greentest Eco5 device which is actually 3-in-1. It measures nitrate concentration in fruit, vegetables and meat, water hardness and the background radiation in your environment and near some particular objects.

I read a lot of complaints about the nitrate testers inaccuracy, so Greentest Eco5 caught my attention as it passed three metrology proficiency testings such as Best Testing&Analysis, Corp; Shenzhen Academy of Metrology and Quality Inspection and Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS) and showed less than 10% inaccuracy in nitrate level detection.

Advantages of the Greentest Eco 5:

  1. It can detect the nitrate level in 64 vegetables and fruit and all types of meat.

  2. It has dual test probe which cause less damage to your food. You can also insert that in the food you are going to buy in the market and no one will really notice these two small apertures.

  3. High-resolution color display

  4. Interface easy-to-use

  5. It is light and compact enough to fit into your pocket.

  6. It includes an internally stored Geiger-Müller tube which allows to the tester to accurately display the background radiation.

    This last function is quite handy when you choose fish and seafood and it will be a great thing to have, for example, when you travel and have to buy food in radiologically unsafe places.

  7. High battery capacity

Technical characteristics:

Display resolution: 320×240

Power: lithium battery

Dimensions: 122 x 52 x 14mm
Weight: 90g

Operating temperature: 0 – +60 °С.

So avoid using it at the freezing temperatures!

My general impression about Greentest Eco 5.
I like its design, it is light and the interface is quite easy to understand.

All you have to do is to switch the device on, choose what you are going to test from the menu, insert the device in an object and Start the detection.

The device uses the principle of the traffic lights. Green color means the product is safe to consume, yellow – high levels but still ok to use and red color – danger!

I did avoid purchasing some watermelons and exotic fruits for my family after the device showed me the dangerous level of nitrates.

As I was fiddling with it, I have noticed that the tester shows different nitrate levels (though the discrepancy isn’t very big) in the same fruit after you peel it or after you wash it. I guess it is normal. For example, in cabbage it is better to remove the upper layer as it contains more nitrates than in the middle. Cucumbers and zucchinis have more nitrates in the peel.

You can use it non-stop for 20 hours. I have never tried that, but in general, I was ok without charging it for 3-4 months.

I would definitely recommend the nitrate tester Greentest Eco 5. Yes, I accept, it is not that cheap, but it has a lot of good functions and it will help you to avoid potentially dangerous products.

In my opinion, it is a must to have specially when you have kids as their reaction to the high nitrate levels in food is specially bad.