Maybe you should hold off on dumping that cinnamon into the pumpkin pie you’re about to bake. In a report released Wednesday, the FDA announced that nearly 7% of spice imports examined upon arrival to the United States contained salmonella, which is the cause of severe food-related illness. Other spices contained insect and rodent remnants.
The FDA said that the amount of contamination in spices is nearly double that of any other imported food. The research is the result of a multiple-year study, according to The New York Times.
Insects and rodents find their way into spices while they are stored in warehouses and facilities before shipping. Unlike salmonella, which can be killed with heat, there is no way to remove the contamination from the spices.
While officials state that a systemic change needs to take place, the American Spice Trade Association has published a booklet titled Clean, Safe Spices that is free to download. The book was written in “response to concerns raised following several recalls of spices due to Salmonella.” Curious cooks can educate themselves about the spice transport process and governmental standards in place.