The American Spice Trade Association Statement on FDA’s Consumer Advice on Products Containing Ground Cumin with Undeclared Peanuts

February 19, 2015
For more information contact:
Cheryl Deem: 202‐331‐2464
American Spice Trade Association

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 issued Consumer Advice that people highly allergic to peanuts should consider avoiding products with a manufacturing date before 2014 that contain ground cumin or cumin powder. FDA notes that some shipments of ground cumin have tested positive for peanut protein and there have been extensive recalls of cumin, seasoning mixes and finished food products as a result.  The affected recalled products are listed in the Consumer Advisory.

ASTA and its member companies are committed to providing consumers and customers with quality, wholesome, safe spices. U.S. spice companies are taking steps to ensure that cumin and products containing cumin do not pose a safety risk for individuals with peanut allergies.  While some spice companies have been involved in the recalls for undeclared peanut, the vast majority have not had any products involved in these recalls.

Cumin is not grown in the U.S.  Cumin is grown in a number of countries outside of the U.S., and peanut crops are grown in some of the same areas.  Some customary methods of growing and harvesting crops in these regions may result in incidental cross-contact causing very low residue levels. Spice companies work diligently to assure the safety of spices including minimizing the possibility that peanut protein or residue is present in cumin.

ASTA is not aware of any reports that whole cumin sold at retail in grocery stores has been found to contain peanut protein. Peanut allergic consumers are directed to read FDA’s Consumer Advisory.

ASTA has represented the interests of the American spice trade for more than 100 years and actively supports a range of programs to ensure the trade of safe and clean spice.