The FDA will meet Thursday to discuss ways to update rules on imported spices and herbs.
This comes after a current recall for Pran’s turmeric powder which tested positive for high levels of lead.
Fahman Enterprises Inc., who distributes Pran’s turmeric powder, voluntarily recalled the product last week. The turmeric, which is imported from Bangladesh, contained higher than normal levels of lead.
The turmeric was distributed in Dallas to retail stores between the dates of July 2013 and September 2013. The FDA says no complaints have been reported.
Contaminated spices have become a growing issue of concern for the FDA since many of the spices in American supermarkets are not made in the U.S. USDA reports more than 90% of the U.S. spice supply is imported.
In September, 19 shipments of imported spices were rejected by the FDA due to contamination, with more than a third testing positive for salmonella.
ABC news reports, three years ago, salmonella-infected pepper from Vietnam put on domestic salami sickened nearly 300 Americans.
FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said in a statement, “Many spices are treated to reduce contamination but spices in general are not risk-free. Consumers concerned about the safety of spices used in the home should add spices during cooking rather than adding them at the table. It’s also important to follow basic food handling practices—cook, chill, clean and separate.”
Many of these imported spices also make it into other pre-packaged foods. It's not a requirement for ingredients to be identified by country of origin.