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Cooking Spices May Offer More Than Just Flavor


EMSL Analytical provides Salmonella and other food pathogen testing services for manufacturers, distributors and the general public.

Westmont, NJ

Americans consume about 3.5 pounds of spices each year and the federal government wants to ensure that spices are free of contaminants. This latest push comes after a nationwide recall of spices from numerous food manufacturers related to Salmonella contamination in raw materials used by the industry. In addition there have been 16 recalls in the U.S. since 2001 due to contaminated spices.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently met with representatives of the spice industry to discuss ways to prevent future cases of contamination. They include steam heating, fumigation and irradiation. Under current law the FDA cannot require any of these methods be utilized, but legislation pending in Congress could change that.

Salmonella is a Gram-negative bacterium that is found worldwide in warm and cold-blooded animals, including humans. Infections from the bacteria can be caused by eating contaminated foods and by transmission from animals to humans. According to some reports, the Salmonella from the recently recalled food additive used in spices could affect thousands of food products.

The current outbreak due to contaminated spices has caused 249 illnesses in 44 states. Because spices have such a long shelf life it is feared contaminated spices may remain in people’s kitchens for years to come. The bacterium is capable of surviving for years on the dried spices.

EMSL Analytical, one of the nation’s largest food testing laboratories, provides testing solutions for Salmonella and other dangerous pathogens. “Infections from Salmonella can cause extreme illness and even death,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President at EMSL. “EMSL has rapid testing solutions to ensure our food products are safe.”

To help educate the public and food safety professionals the company has released a ‘Foodborne Illness’ poster that is available free of charge at the company’s website. To learn more about food pathogen testing or to order the poster please visit,, call (800)220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of food, environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


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