Don't worry Canada, our spices are much cleaner, Ottawa says
Ever wonder what exactly is in that curry powder or the herbes de Provence tucked away in your spice cabinet?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a multi-year study last week, saying nearly 12 per cent of imported spices to the U.S. are contaminated with everything from live and dead insects to bird parts, animal excrement, staples and synthetic fibres.
Foreign particles were found in a variety of popular spices and herbs, including basil, mace, mint, mustard seed, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme, cinnamon, cayenne, cumin, black and white pepper, allspice and others.
As this was a U.S.-based study, the Star called Health Canada on Monday to ask about contaminants in spices imported here. Health Canada told us to call the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
For the microbial testing program, a total of 1,434 samples of dried spices were tested between 2009-10 and 2012-13. Of these, only two came back with positive results for salmonella. In the U.S., more than 80 different salmonella serotypes were isolated from spices in contaminated shipments during the three-year study period.