The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has discovered that at least 12% of imported spices contain insects, insect parts and rodent hairs. In addition, they found that 7% of the spices are tainted with salmonella. According to an Oct. 30 report on the New York Times, the worst of the polluted spices come from Mexico and India.
The FDA has been examining the quality of imported spices for a period of years, and the findings are disturbing, especially where the incidences of salmonella are concerned. It is difficult to ascertain the source of salmonella poisoning when people may forget the spices used on foods as they do inventory of their diet. The amount of contaminants in the spices is also considered to be higher than in imported food.
The problem is considered to be at the storage point, and stronger methods of control are needed. The head of the FDA was scheduled to travel to India this fall to discuss the problem with officials, but the government shutdown delayed her travel. India is reportedly eager to put reforms in place.
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