ML3 Technical Blog

Food safety news and guidance
2 minutes reading time (409 words)

October: Beetroot


There's more to the humble Beetroot than just being pickled. With new heirloom varieties coming onto the market, it's leaves forming the base of salads and roasted it gives a beautifully rich earthy flavour. Beetroot is full of antioxidants, carbs, potassium and folic acid; new research into its use to reduce blood pressure, reduce and cardiovascular disease means it's now recognised as a superfood.

Beetroot has high nutritional value. Besides high content of sugar, beetroot is rich source of vitamins B6 and B9 and minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium. Beetroot contains high amount of boron which facilitates production of sex hormones. It was popular aphrodisiac during the Roman time.

In the Middle Ages beetroot was used to treat digestive illnesses and diseases of the blood and in the middle 19th century it was often used to colour wine (food fraud started years ago!).

Beetroot is the taproot part of the beet plant, it's one of several cultivated varieties of Beta Vulgaris grown for their edible taproots and leaves. As well as food, beets are used as a food colouring and a medicinal plant.

We grow around 72,000 tonnes of beetroot a year in the UK, with approximately 2500 football picpitches. The main areas of growing beetroot in the UK are Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, however they are also grown in Lancashire and Angus amongst others.

It takes around 56 to 65 days to grow beetroot from a seed depending upon the variety grown, size wanted, location and weather. Beetroot develops leafy stems with heart-shaped leaves. The leaves are usually 2 to 8 inches long and are also edible. Beetroot is biennial plant which means that it finishes its life cycle in two years

The red colour in beetroot comes from a pigment known as betanin. This pigment is not broken down in the body, which can cause urine and stools to have a reddish appearance. Although harmless it may lead to people believing they have a serious internal bleeding disorder. Betanin is used as a food colourant for many "natural" products.

With many people now eating beetroot and beetroot leaves raw in salads as well as the more traditional pickled and cooked versions, growers need to be aware of the end consumer use as this will impact the irrigation water standards and hygiene standards required during harvesting and handling.

Contact ML3 Technical Services Limited to help ensure your systems and procedures meet the required standard to ensure food safety to the end consumer.

Red Tractor Certification Scheme
Well so much for a quite life.


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Tuesday, 28 January 2020
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