Are Spices Safe?

A new study from FDA showed that 12 percent of imported spices contain insect parts, animal hair, and possibly unsafe pathogens.

Before sprinkling some tarragon, saffron, or cumin into your next home-cooked meal, beware: Last week, the FDA found that 12 percent of imported spices are contaminated. With what, you ask? Insect parts, rodent hairs, full insects and other "things," according to The New York Times.

The agency reported that its findings "suggest that the presence of pathogens, such as Salmonella, and filth in spices is a systemic challenge. Failures identified in the farm-to-table food safety system potentially leading to adulteration of consumed spice generally arose from poor/inconsistent application of appropriate preventive controls. The study identified 14 spice/seasoning-associated outbreaks worldwide that occurred from 1973 to 2010, resulting in less than 2,000 reported human illnesses and 128 hospitalizations worldwide.

FDA did the study as part of a larger effort to look at the safety of spices, a project it has been involved with for years. The inspectors found that some spices considered safe from being treated were still contaminated when tested. They also found the problem is difficult to eradicate because heating something up (which can kill salmonella) will not kill certain types of harmful bacteria that come from insects or rodents. Spice-related illnesses are also underreported, because many people don't recall "saffron" when asked what they think made them sick; they remember chicken, beef, eggs, etc.

Certain spice producers stand by their products, ensuring that they are safe despite FDA's findings. 

comments powered by Disqus

Info Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations manage safety and achieve regulatory compliance by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, loss payouts, insurance premiums, property damage, lost days, and OSHA fines; and more. Learn More →

  • Proactively Prevent Incidents and Injuries

    IndustrySafe’s JSA module allows users to track and mitigate hazards associated with difficult tasks or job sites. Learn More →

  • Analyze Incident Data and Maintain OSHA Compliance

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module. Learn More →

  • Track and Analyze Your Training Programs

    With IndustrySafe’s Training module, users can quickly generate reports identifying employees who need recertification and training for specific job assignments and can automatically notify employees of upcoming classes and required re-training. Learn More →

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s flexible and intuitive Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track Key Safety Performance Indicators and metrics, allowing safety professionals to gain increased visibility into their business' operations and safety data. Learn More →

  • Industry Safe

Free e-News Subscription

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy