the UK, Salmonella spp. were detected in
1.5 percent of 132 production batches
and 1.1 percent of 2,833 retail samples.
Thus, the awareness of Salmonella in
spices is worldwide. Furthermore, spices
are frequently grown and shipped from
outside the United States, often from
third-world countries where spices are
harvested and stored under conditions that don’t meet developed-world
standards for hygiene and sanitation.
For example, 75 percent of U.S. spice
imports come from Brazil, China, India,
Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Peru
and Vietnam. 11
What the Industry Can and Should
This is the time for the spice industry
and indeed the entire low water activity
food industry, as well as other industries, to ensure that they have nothing
less than a world-class food safety system. Such a system will include many
things, such as but not limited to supplier controls, appropriate sanitization
approaches—given that traditional wetcleaning approaches have been shown
to pose greater risk in dry food processing environments—preoperational swabbing programs for validation of the effectiveness of cleaning and sanitization,
rigorous environmental sampling and
corrective action programs, appropriate
lot-based testing and segregation of processing lines, hygienic equipment design
and repair practices, preventive maintenance programs and ongoing training. 15
Stay tuned for a forthcoming article
discussing some of these approaches. n
Jeffrey L. Kornacki, Ph.D., is president of Kornacki
Microbiology Solutions Inc. in Madison, WI. He is on
the Editorial Advisory Board of Food Safety Magazine.
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Non-Typhoidal,” in Bacterial Infections of Humans, eds. AS Evans and PS Brachman (New
York: Springer, 2009).
2. Scallan, E et al. 2011. “Foodborne Illness Acquired in the United States—Major Pathogens.”
Emerg Infect Dis 17(1): 7–15.
4. Wiedmann, M. “Listeria Science and Issues.” Presentation at the 2016 Food Safety Summit. Rosemont, IL.
5. www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/WholeGenomeSequencingProgram WGS/ucm403550.
6. Vij, V et al. 2006. “Recalls of Spices Due to Bacterial Contamination Monitored by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration: The Predominance of Salmonellae.” J Food Protect 69:233–237.
8. Ma, Y. 2013. “United States Food and Drug Administration: Review of Primary Recall Events During
2008–2009 Associated with Salmonella in Spices and Seasonings.” Personal communication. Available from FDA upon request.
10. Sotir, MJ et al. 2009. “Outbreak of Salmonella Wandsworth and Typhimurium Infections in
Infants and Toddlers Traced to a Commercial Vegetable-Coated Snack Food.” Pediatr Infect Dis J
11. JB Gurtler, MP Doyle and JL Kornacki. The Microbiological Safety of Low Water Activity Foods
and Spices (New York: Springer, 2014).
13. Podolak, R et al. 2010. “Sources and Risk Factors for Contamination, Survival, Persistence, and
Heat Resistance of Salmonella in Low-Moisture Foods.” J Food Prot 73( 10):1919–1936.
14. Sagoo, SK et al. 2009. “Assessment of the Microbiological Safety of Dried Spices and Herbs from
Production and Retail Premises in the United Kingdom.” Food Microbiol 26(1): 39–43.
15. Kornacki, JL. “Hygiene Control in the Dry Food Products Industry: The Roles of Cleaning Methods
and Hygienic Indicators,” in Case Studies in Food Safety and Authenticity: Lessons From Real-Life
Situations, ed. J Hoorfar, 254–266 (Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing, 2012).