Microbial Safety

Due to the environments in which they are grown, spices and herbs often harbor microorganisms, including bacteria. These include potential spoilage organisms and pathogens of public health significance. This page includes information about the presence of microbiological hazards on spices and the control and mitigation of these hazards.


The Food Safety Modernization Act requires that all food companies have a food safety plan in place that includes a hazard analysis and validated process controls to control any identified hazards. Potential hazards that may occur on spices include biological hazards, such as Salmonella. Manufacturers of ready to eat spices must have a validated process control to ensure that Salmonella is controlled. Learn more about these requirements on ASTA’s Validation Studies page.

ASTA’s White Papers on Microbiological Issues in Spices summarize the scientific evidence related to the microbiology of spices. ASTA’s Webinar Series on the Microbiology of Spices also provides a great overview of this topic. ASTA also has a Webinar on What Spice Companies Need to Know About the Presence and Control of Spore-forming Bacteria on Spices.

ASTA’s Best Practices and Guidance include relevant information about managing biological hazards in and on spices. In particular, ASTA’s Clean, Safe Spices Guidance Document, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMPs) for Spices, HACCP Guide to Spices are great resources. Furthermore ASTA Guidance on Environmental Monitoring Programs and webinar on Developing a FSMA Ready Environmental Monitoring Program are useful references.