Food Safety & Technical Guidance

It is ASTA’s mission to ensure the supply of pure, safe spice. ASTA and it’s members are dedicated to promoting the safety and integrity of the spice supply chain. Supporting public health and protecting consumers is ASTA’s top priority.

ASTA provides a range of programs and publications and conducts research to ensure companies have the tools they need to meet that goal. The resources in this section are available free to members and many are also available free to non-members.  There is a fee for access to educational recordings.

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Analytical Methods

Analytical Methods Manual The official Analytical Methods of the American Spice Trade Association

Microscopic Identification of Spices
The Microscopic Identification of Spice Manual is a reference text for the microscopic or histological identification of pure spices.

Adulteration and Contamination Prevention

Adulteration and Food Fraud
Adulteration and food fraud can pose serious issues for companies. The most common examples of economically motivated adulteration involve the addition of materials to make a food seem more valuable and while this is frequently not a safety issue, it is of concern to the entire food industry. A number of resources are available from ASTA and other organizations to address adulteration and food fraud.

Microbial Safety

This page includes information about the presence of microbiological hazards on spices and the control and mitigation of these hazards.

Best Practices and Guidance

Clean, Safe, Spices Guidance Document ASTA produced this guidance document to assist the spice industry in developing programs that minimize the risk for contamination of spices and to help industry firms provide clean safe spices to their industrial, food service and consumer customers.

Identification and Prevention of Adulteration Guidance Document
Adulteration is one of the major concerns of the spice industry and this guidance document provides a tool for companies to identify circumstances when adulteration may occur and then take steps to prevent it. The ASTA guidance is based on a publication developed by the British Retail Consortium, the Food and Drink Federation and the Seasoning and Spice Association.

HACCP Guide for Spices and Seasonings HACCP is the acronym for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and is used as an analytical tool to introduce and maintain a cost-effective, ongoing food safety program. The ASTA HACCP Guide for Spices and Seasonings which was updated April 2015 to include new tools was designed to address issues specific to the spice industry.

Cleanliness Specifications ASTA’s Cleanliness Specifications were developed to ensure that the spices meet federal regulatory requirements for safety and cleanliness. They were designed to meet or exceed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Defect Action Levels.

Good Agricultural Practices Guide (GAP Guide)
IOSTA has developed a Good Agricultural Practices Guide to be used as a resource in the growing and harvesting of spices.

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Guide for Spices
This guide focuses specifically on the spice manufacturing environment, and combines recommendations and best practices from ASTA member companies.

Principles of Physical Cleaning of Spices
This ASTA guide provides an overview of equipment that can be used for the physical cleaning of spices.

For questions, please contact [email protected].