Insect fragments and animal hairs taint 12 per cent of imported spices, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
"Nearly all of the insects found in spice samples were stored-product pests, indicating inadequate packing or storage conditions," the agency's draft report said. "The presence of rodent hair without the root in spices is generally indicative of contamination by rodent feces."
The FDA sampled 2,844 imported dry spice shipments from fiscal 2007 through fiscal 2009 and found about seven per cent tested positive for salmonella. The highest prevalence of salmonella was in leaf-based seasonings like basil and oregano. Mexico had the highest per cent of exports of contaminated spices, followed by India.
-- Bloomberg News