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Up to 7% of Imported Spices Contaminated with Salmonella

EMSL Analytical provides food testing services to identify microbial pathogens and prevent foodborne illness outbreaks.


Cinnaminson, NJ, November 11, 2013

Last month, a new report was released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that took a comprehensive look at imported spices. According to their findings, approximately 12% of the spices were found to be contaminated with insect parts and rodent hairs, while roughly 7% were found to have Salmonella.

The FDA report states, “A wide diversity of pathogens have been found in spices including Salmonella, Bacillus spp. (including B. cereus), Clostridium perfringens, Cronobacter spp., Shigella, and Staphylococcus aureus. Human illness outbreaks attributed to consumption of pathogen-contaminated spice have most commonly been associated with Salmonella or Bacillus spp.”

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that has been known to cause illness for many years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are an estimated 1.2 million cases that occur annually in the United States; of these, approximately 42,000 are laboratory-confirmed cases reported to CDC.

It is unclear how many of the estimated 1.2 million cases of illnesses can be attributed to contaminated spices. This is likely due to the fact that when people become ill after eating food products they rarely mention spices as one of the items consumed. 

One of the leading food testing laboratories in North America that helps food manufacturers, retailers, regulators and the general public test for food pathogens is EMSL Analytical, Inc. “The CDC believes that about 400 fatalities occur each year due to Salmonella,” reported Joy Dell’Aringa, M.S., RM (NRM), CFSP, National Food Director at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “With over a million illnesses and several hundred deaths, food contamination due to Salmonella and other pathogens are a huge issue. At EMSL, our experts provide testing services to rapidly and accurately identify Salmonella and other foodborne pathogens to prevent outbreaks and protect people’s health.”

EMSL has sponsored a video about Salmonella that can be seen at:

To learn more about testing for Salmonella and other food testing services, please visit or, 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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