Bugs, Rodent Hairs Found in Imported Spices, FDA Says
While milk, honey, and olive oil might all be susceptible to fraud, it turns out that imported spices are also usually contaminated with non-spice products. Namely: insect parts, rodent hairs, and whole insects.
A Food and Drug Administration study found that 12 percent of all imported spices are contaminated with non-spice products, while 7 percent were contaminated with salmonella.
Most commonly, according to the report, hot spices like paprika, or dried peppers, had the most filth. Black pepper, on the other hand, was found to be the cleanest spice. Meanwhile, spices imported from Mexico and India have been found to have the highest rate of contamination.
The FDA claims that this is a "wakeup call" to spice producers, noting that spice contamination often doesn't occur in the harvesting process, but rather in the storage and processing. Of course, the American Spice Trade Assoication says that food manufacturers often treat the spices imported before selling them to the mass market, meaning these findings right after the import process are not reflective of spices sold to consumers.
Nevertheless, FDA inspectors claim that while cooking and processing can treat salmonella contaminations, the cooking process will not solve contaminations of insects or rodents.