4 out of 10 spices contaminated, according to new research


New research finds your spices may be contaminated.

"The FDA has only recently published their first white paper calling attention to the fact that there are foodborne pathogens and other materials in spice products," said Kansas State University Food Safety Specialist Pat Williams.

Researchers at Kansas State University found that four out of ten spices contain some type of contamination that could make you sick. It ranges from foodborne pathogens like salmonella, heavy metals, to microtoxins, which are considered carcinogens.

The research studied spices bought in bulk-like at a farmers market, not the pre-packaged spices bought at stores. There are four spices that most often contain these pathogens.

"Our research has really shown that there are four that are typically associated with Salmonella contamination based on this demographic, black pepper, thyme, oregano and turmeric," said Williams.

All of the cinnamon and ginger samples were contaminant-free. Williams says food is safe if it has been seasoned before cooking it. Always cooking these spices to at least 160 degrees will eliminate the bacteria. However, the spices you put on cold foods like deviled eggs and coleslaw could make you sick.

Read the Food and Drug Administration's Draft Risk Profile: Pathogens and Filth in Spices.