FDA Updates Spice Risk Profile
As previously reported on this blog, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a draft risk profile on the public health risks associated with spices in October 2013. The risk profile identifies the presence of pathogens, such as Salmonella, and filth in spices; describes current efforts to reduce the public health risk posed by consumption of contaminated spices; and identifies control options to prevent contamination.
FDA announced on February 15, 2018, the availability of an updated risk profile on pathogens and filth in spice. The updated Risk Profile: Pathogens and Filth in Spices (2017) includes data from an FDA survey that evaluated Salmonella prevalence and aerobic plate counts in packaged (dried) spices offered for sale at retail establishments in the U.S. The survey showed that the prevalence of Salmonella in nine out of 11 types of retail spices in the U.S. was significantly lower than that for shipments of spices at import. The findings from the study, titled, “Prevalence of Salmonella in eleven spices offered for sale from retail establishments and in imported shipments offered for entry to the United States,” were published in the Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 80, No. 11, in 2017. The study included over 7,000 retail samples of 11 different spice types that were collected during November 2013 to September 2014 and October 2014 to March 2015.
FDA requested public comments on the Draft Risk Profile in November 2013. (Materials related to the spice risk profile, including comments submitted, can be accessed from the docket folder, FDA-2013-N-1204.) FDA pointed out that the findings from its recently published survey are consistent with public comments from the domestic food industry stating that responsible manufacturers apply a pathogen reduction treatment to many spices after entering the U.S., prior to retail sale.