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FDA Findings Show 12 Percent of Imported Spices Contaminated

Several major US media sources cover the newly released Food and Drug Administration report on imported spices. The New York Times reports new findings released by the Food and Drug Administration found about “12 percent of spices brought to the United States are contaminated with insect parts, whole insects, rodent hairs and other things,” and almost “7 percent of spice imports examined by federal inspectors were contaminated with salmonella.” FDA food and spice official Jane M. Van Doren said “the findings ‘are a wake-up call’ to spice producers,” regarding contamination issues, which the agency called “a systemic challenge.”

The Wall Street Journal notes the FDA report, which looked at outbreaks between 1973 and 2010, said that the “actual health burden is probably much larger due to under-reporting and challenges in foodborne disease surveillance.”

The Los Angeles Times adds the FDA “identified 14 outbreaks from 1973 to 2010 that sickened 2,000 people and hospitalized 128 worldwide.” According to the agency, the small number of outbreaks “may be because consumers use only small amounts of spices each time,” preventing more widespread illness.

Bloomberg News reports that over 80 percent of spices in the US are imported from other countries. According to the FDA, nearly “9 percent of 1,057 spice shipments from India were contaminated with salmonella…compared with 14 percent of 136 shipments from Mexico.” Canada’s salmonella presence was the lowest “at less than 1 percent of its 110 shipments.”

The AP adds FDA deputy commissioner for foods Michael Taylor, said the FDA is “not recommending that consumers stay away from spices.” He noted “that food safety rules proposed earlier this year aiming to make imported and domestic food safer on farms and in processing facilities should help reduce spice contamination.”

Food Safety News also reports on the story.

From the American Association for Justice news release.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

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