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New Technologies Help Eradicate Contamination Of Imported Herbs, Spices

June 23, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Noting that the consumption of spices in the U.S. has “grown substantially” in the last 25 years, scientists who took part in a recent panel discussion said that as spice use has grown, so has spice safety. According to the FDA, 86 percent of households now use dry or fresh herbs, spices and seasonings. About 60 percent of these are imported, sourced from small farms; 12 percent of those are contaminated with microorganisms and pathogens. Contamination resulted in 14 illness outbreaks around the globe between 1973 and 2010. But new and improved manufacturing technologies – e.g., pulsed light, cold plasma, and controlled condensation steam processes – have all helped to eradicate pathogens during the production process, though the processes can be difficult to monitor or evaluate.
"Farm to table oversight, new technologies improving spice safety", News release, panel discussion at the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting, June 23, 2014, © Institute of Food Technologists
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