Gardiner Harris in the NYTimes says lots of spices sold in this country are…suspect. For salmonella. And most of the spices come from India and Mexico. Harris writes about a 3-year long project by the FDA:
In a study of more than 20,000 food shipments, the food agency found that nearly 7 percent of spice lots were contaminated with salmonella, twice the average of all other imported foods. Some 15 percent of coriander and 12 percent of oregano and basil shipments were contaminated, with high contamination levels also found in sesame seeds, curry powder and cumin. Four percent of black pepper shipments were contaminated.
And this is why this is a serious matter:
The United States is one of the world’s largest spice importers, bringing in 326 metric tons in 2012 valued at $1.1 billion, according to the Department of Agriculture. Of those imports, which account for more than 80 percent of the total United States spice supply, 19 percent were from India and 5 percent from Mexico.