In light of evidence calling into question the effectiveness of control measures to reduce or prevent illness from consumption of spices in the United States, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed a risk profile on pathogens and filth in spices.
The objectives of the risk profile were to
- describe the nature and extent of the public health risk posed by consumption of spices in the United States by identifying the most commonly occurring microbial hazards and filth in spice;
- describe and evaluate current mitigation and control options designed to reduce the public health risk posed by consumption of contaminated spices in the United States;
- identify potential additional mitigation and control options; and
- identify critical data gaps and research needs.
The risk profile for pathogens and filth in spices provides information for FDA to use in the development of plans to reduce or prevent illness from spices contaminated by microbial pathogens and/or filth.
- Updated FDA Risk Profile: Pathogens and Filth in Spices (2017) (PDF: 2.96MB)
- FDA Draft Risk Profile: Pathogens and Filth in Spices (2013) (PDF: 2.7MB)
- Peer-Review Report on FDA Draft Risk Profile: Pathogens and Filth in Spices (2013) (PDF: 741KB)
Federal Register Notices & Commenting
- Federal Register Notice announcing the extension of the comment period of the Draft Risk Profile
December 18, 2013
- Federal Register Notice announcing the availability of the Draft Risk Profile and the request for public comments
November 4, 2013
- Federal Register Notice announcing FDA's intention to conduct the risk profile and the request for public comments and scientific data/information
April 20, 2010
- View the docket folder, FDA-2013-N-1204, for materials related to the risk profile including comments submitted.
- FDA Releases 2017 Update for FDA Risk Profile: Pathogens and Filth in Spices February 13, 2018
- FDA Posts Questions and Answers on Spice Safety February 26, 2016
Selected FDA Research Studies Included in the Risk Profile
“Prevalence, serotype diversity, and antimicrobial resistance of Salmonella in imported shipments of spice offered for entry to the United States, FY2007-FY2009,” J.M. Van Doren, D. Kleinmeier, T.S. Hammack, and A. Westerman, Food Microbiology, 34:239-251 (2013).
"Prevalence, level and distribution of Salmonella in shipments of imported capsicum and sesame seed spice offered for entry to the United States: Observations and modeling results,” JM Van Doren, R J Blodgett, R. Pouillot, A Westerman, D Kleinmeier, GC Ziobro, Y Ma, TS Hammack, V Gill, MF Muckenfuss, L Fabbri, Food Microbiology, 36: 149-610 (2013).
“Foodborne illness outbreaks from microbial contaminants in spices, 1973-2010,” JM Van Doren, KP Neil, M Parish, L Gieraltowski, LH Gould, and KL Gombas, Food Microbiology, 36: 456-464 (2013).
“Growth and survival of Salmonella in ground black pepper (Piper nigrum),” SE Keller, JM VanDoren, EM Grasso, and LA Halik, Food Microbiology, 34: 182-188 (2013).
“Prevalence of Salmonella in eleven spices offered for sale from retail establishments and in imported shipments offered for entry to the United States,” G. Zhang, L. Hu, R. Pouillot, A. Tatavarthy, J. M. Van Doren, D. Kleinmeier, G. C. Ziobro, D. Melka, H. Wang, E. W. Brown, E. Strain, V. K. Bunning, S. M. Musser, and T. M. Hammack. 2017. Journal of Food Protection, 80: 1791-1805 (2017).