Imported Spices to the U.S. Carry Salmonella and Other Contaminants
A study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finds that 7 percent of spices imported from 2007 and 2010 carried traces of Salmonella.
Imported Spices Carry Increased Risk of Salmonella
In the study, the FDA observed foods from several different countries including Mexico, Thailand, INdia and Vietnam.
The New York Times reports that esearchers were able to conclude that spices are twice as likely to be contaminated with salmonella than other inspected foods – in all, 80 different strains of salmonella were detected.
During the time of the study, 749 shipments of spices were denied from entering U.S. borders due to Salmonella contamination, in addition to 238 further shipments which contained segments of insects, excrement, hair and other materials.
The FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Michael Taylor, has stated that the FDA does not recommend consumers stay away from spices, noting that new food safety rules, namely for importers and processing facilities, as well as the likelihood that spices will prevent illness.
Salmonella Contamination Statistics
Since 1973, there have been 14 documented outbreaks of Salmonella globally, which have caused 2,000 illnesses. Children were most often affected.
Annually, the Center for Disease Control reports that 1.2 million illnesses in the United States are caused by Salmonella, causing $365 million in medical costs as well as 23,000 hospitalizations.
Roughly 450 Americans die as a result of Salmonella every year.
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