Contaminated spices are a new concern for Americans as the Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that nearly seven percent of imported spices from the past three years have been contaminated with salmonella.
FOX News reports Oct. 31 that spices imported between 2007 and 2010 were twice as likely as other foods they tested to be contaminated. Over 80 various types of salmonella were discovered in the inspection, according to the report. Spices from India, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam were ones affected. The FDA chose to take action on several documented cases of spice-related illnesses around the world.
Vietnam and China had a salami ingredient in their black and red pepper spices in 2009 and 2010 which caused a series of illnesses.
The FDA cites 14 known outbreaks around the world that resulted in about 2,000 illness since 1973 due to contaminated spices. It impacted mostly children.
749 shipments of spices were refused to enter the U.S. because of salmonella contamination, the FDA reports. Another 238 shipments were turned away because of what the FDA refers to as "filth" in the spices that included "insects, excrement, hair or other materials."
There were a number of other instances in which contaminated spices were denied at the border, including cooking or treating possible pathogens. Although human consumption of spices in a meal are small, the FDA conducted the research since the spices come from farms in other countries where their standards of food safety aren't as stringent as those in the U.S.