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Medical News & Perspectives
November 27, 2013

FDA Questions Effectiveness of Measures to Reduce or Prevent Illness From Eating Imported Spices

JAMA. 2013;310(20):2136. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.283442

An estimated 12% of spices imported into the United States are contaminated with filth such as insects or rodent hairs and more than 6% contain the bacteria Salmonella—nearly twice the contaminant levels found in other imported foods, said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a draft risk profile (http://1.usa.gov/1gd8xcH).

The high percentages are troubling, as an estimated 86% of US households use fresh or dried herbs, spices, and seasonings. US per capita spice use has increased about 0.5 lb per decade since 1996. In 2010, per capita annual spice consumption was 3.64 lb, excluding dehydrated garlic.

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