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  • 1 Technological and Nuclear Institute Reactor-ITN E.N. 10 2686-953 Sacavém Portugal
  • 2 Technical University of Lisbon CERENA-IST Av. Rovisco Pais 1 1049-001 Lisboa Portugal
  • 3 University of São Paulo CENA-USP Av. Centenário 303 13416-000 Piracicaba SP Brazil
  • 4 University of Texas at Austin (J.J. Pickle Research Campus) Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory Building 159 Austin TX 78712 USA
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Abstract  

In 2003–2004, several food items were purchased from large commercial outlets in Coimbra, Portugal. Such items included meats (chicken, pork, beef), eggs, rice, beans and vegetables (tomato, carrot, potato, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce). Elemental analysis was carried out through INAA at the Technological and Nuclear Institute (ITN, Portugal), the Nuclear Energy Centre for Agriculture (CENA, Brazil), and the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Lab of the University of Texas at Austin (NETL, USA). At the latter two, INAA was also associated to Compton suppression. It can be concluded that by applying Compton suppression (1) the detection limits for arsenic, copper and potassium improved; (2) the counting-statistics error for molybdenum diminished; and (3) the long-lived zinc had its 1115-keV photopeak better defined. In general, the improvement sought by introducing Compton suppression in foodstuff analysis was not significant. Lettuce, cabbage and chicken (liver, stomach, heart) are the richest diets in terms of human nutrients.