FOOD QUALITY IS OUR MAIN CONCERN
As a biologist in addition to a professional background immersed in food technology, Nicolas, the founder of Ecospirulina, is now obsessed with quality.
Microalgae consumption brings a full range of essential nutrients to the body; to respect this complete nutritional content is a must.
These microorganisms are cultivated into water. Do all producers really care about the quality of the water being used, the surrounding environment, cultivation and processing materials being used? Basic precautions to avoid external contamination of the culture medium (heavy metals, dust, dioxins, insects, nano plastic particles, etc.) and the processing facilities (food grade materials, hygienic measures) have to be taken, so that a pure and healthy food can be enjoyed. Be aware: many spirulina producers do not respect all these production basic requirements.
At Ecospirulina, we take care of the product down to the smallest details.
We have invested in a production line with the most modern technology and all cultivation processes are certified by the HACCP quality system (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). Ecospirulina is the first company in Spain to have implemented this quality system for the production of spirulina. It is controlled 5 times a year by Spanish Health Authorities. We are glad to inform that every inspection report states no negative points.
Any material being used in our production is food grade quality. For example, the cultivation ponds are made of materials used for drinking water. In industrial production this material is replaced by concrete or non-food grade plastic.
Microbiological and heavy metal analyses are carried out systematically to ensure the safety of the product.
We work small production batches to ensure the optimum freshness of the product at all times. Thus the consumer can enjoy the maximum concentration of essential nutrients. We detail the process times from cultivation to consumption in this scheme: "Transit times".
In this objective we choose an ecological and hermetic package. It preserves the freshness of the product and its nutritional properties.
At Ecospirulina we are first and foremost concerned about the quality of the food within our reach. Therefore, we strive to provide maximum transparency and information about the products offered. If you have any questions or suggestions about the content of this page, do not hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to exchange information.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR SPIRULINA?
Since we have decided to take care of our body thanks to the properties of spirulina, we need to make sure that it is of high quality, since there is everything on the market... Here we give you a mini guide to make the best choice:
The spirulina has to be of an intense dark green. This characteristic denotes that the product has not been oxidized in the air; when the product is in contact with the air, the green color coming from the chlorophyll is attenuated.
ODOUR AND TASTE:
The smell is a quality index of spirulina: a strong smell may be due to a significant oxidation of spirulina. It usually occurs in powdered products. Quality spirulina has a mild characteristic odour and taste. If you choose a great quality spirulina, you will enjoy its “chlorophyll taste”, difficult to describe but so healthy to eat.
The origin of spirulina will give us a lot of information: the country of production (the closer the better for the reduction of emissions during transport), the production method (artisanal vs. industrial), the growing conditions (in a place free of pollutants or not, the rules of hygiene applied, the quality of water used), the strain of spirulina cultivated (that is pure, without mixing with other algae or other microorganisms).
In tablets above all, the consumer will have to pay attention to...
- The weight of the tablet (300mg, 400mg, 500mg) and the amount contained in the package. Sometimes low quantity spirulina content is sold at very high price.
- The purity of spirulina content: many brands (99% of the brands that sell spirulina) use additives to stack the tablet. The percentage of chemical additives used can vary (the more additives used, the less spirulina, which greatly influences the price). However, brands that propose artisanal spirulina do not usually use any type of additive: spirulina is not degraded by the gentle drying process, thus maintaining the properties of the intrinsic polysaccharides of spirulina and allows the tablet to be molded without additive. It is another proof of the purity of low temperature dried spirulina.
The quality of the water in which the spirulina is grown is essential to ensure optimum quality of the final product. That is why a pure water source is needed, it needs to be properly filtered and its parameters checked regularly. Contaminated water will produce contaminated spirulina. Spirulina cultivated with seawater may contain iodine, which is not recommended for people suffering from hyperthyroidism. Apart from that it needs an intense washing to eliminate other microorganisms coming from the sea water, process that diminishes nutritional's richness of the spirulina.
CERTIFICATE OF ANALYSIS:
The analysis of commercially available spirulina should be available on demand. It allows to see for example the bacterial contamination of the spirulina, the presence of heavy metals, etc.
The infrastructure in which spirulina is produced influences the quality (open air subject to outdoor pollution versus protected areas such as greenhouses or photobioreactors). When cultivating in open ponds, the air contamination ends into the cultivation medium. Nobody tells about that but dioxins and furans can be a serious danger in some areas and they end up in the ponds at every rainy day, meanwhile insects and birds can do whatever they need to do in the ponds... Bon appétit! The sustainability of spirulina cultivation should also be highlighted: if the culture medium is recycled, very little loss of nutrients occurs and no residues are emitted into the environment, so the contamination of the spirulina culture is almost nil.
Artisanal cultivation allows most of the culture medium to be recycled: the spirulina is filtered out and the culture medium is extracted for further cultivation. In industrial methods, spirulina is often dried with part of its culture medium, which results in a higher consumption of energy and raw materials, as well as a high content of salts and other dry microorganisms in the final product if it is not previously washed (with the consequent possible loss of important nutrients). By means of an industrial process, only a powdered product can be produced with this drying method (spray-dry).
As the most important parameter in the criteria for choosing your spirulina, comes the drying method. Due to high processing volumes, Industrial productions dry the product in spray-drying towers at high temperatures (180 ºC). This process partially destroy the most fragile micro nutrients such as vitamins, pigments, antioxidants, enzyme SOD due to over heating process. On the other hand, most artisanal production preserves spirulina with gentle drying after harvest (40 ºC).
FORM OF CONSUMPTION:
Only artisanal production can produce spirulina in granules/nibs. This is a great proof of its processing method. Both the spirulina powder and the tablets or capsules that need the spirulina to be reduced to powder for processing, are more subject to oxidation in the air due to the breakage of the cells by the high temperatures used and / or crushed.
CARE OF THE ENVIRONMENT:
Spirulina requires very few energy resources and raw materials to be produced (30 times less space and 3 times less water to produce the same amount of protein as soy, supposedly the best crop in the matter being cultivated so far...). The recycling of the growing medium, the use of renewable energies, the non-use of herbicides, pesticides, etc. makes the cultivation of spirulina a very sustainable crop. The oxygen we breathe today in the atmosphere is thanks to the photosynthetic activity of cyanobacteria, the family to which spirulina belongs. And when produced locally: it is the ideal crop!
ORGANIC SPIRULINA ?:
Currently (2020), there is no European regulation for organic spirulina. There are private standards for the organic cultivation of spirulina (the standards are rather undemanding: most artisan producers respect them themselves, industrial producers have economic resources to finance the certification...). It means that it is much more “organic” way of life to buy locally than to buy “China-produced organic”....
As always, the price gives us an idea of quality: very cheap = surely industrial production and with a reduced nutrient content. Spirulina valuable micronutrients are missing due to overheat drying process. The use of additives is common to reduce pure spirulina content of the final product and make it cheaper or because chemicals are required to crush spirulina tablets (a good quality spirulina does not need any kind of caking agent). Naturally present in spirulina, polysaccharides when they are not overheated during the drying process, are enough to crush the tablet with no chemicals. Be careful! Such an exceptionally nutrients rich superfood (containing micronutrients such as phycocyanin, Beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, etc.) can be extracted before the spirulina powder is marketed. Its valuable nutritional content then becomes very poor... If the price is too high = surely it is a sign of pure marketing strategy with no care about your health.