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.
Microbiology of Spices
Validation of Process Controls
|White Papers on Microbiology
These downloadable white papers provide background information on the presence of bacteria and other microorganisms in and on spices, information about outbreaks and epidemiology, as well as an overview of the anti-microbial properties associated with spices:
Several of ASTA’s Guidance Documents include relevant information about managing biological hazards in and on spices can be accessed on the Best Practices and Guidance page. In particular, ASTA’s Clean, Safe Spices Guidance Document, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMPs) for Spices, HACCP Guide to Spices, and ASTA Guidance on Environmental Monitoring Programs are great resources.
|White Paper on Process Validation
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. ASTA’s downloadable white paper on validation provides an overview of essential elements for companies to consider in developing programs to validate the microbial reduction processes they use. Process Validation
|Salmonella Detection Methods and Laboratory Best Practices for Seasonings, Herbs, and Spice Matrices
This white paper is intended to establish best practices when testing for the presence of Salmonella spp. in seasoning blends and spices. The goal is to foster a more consistent approach to Salmonella verification testing of individual herbs and spices, as well as complex seasoning/spice blends, amongst key stakeholders in the supply chain, including secondary suppliers (regional and global).
Salmonella Detection Methods and Laboratory Best Practices for Seasonings, Herbs, and Spice Matrices
|Webinar Offerings on Validation of Process Controls
Validation of Process Controls Webinar Series
|Webinar Offerings Available on Microbiology
Webinar Series on the Microbiology of Spices
Developing a FSMA Ready Environmental Monitoring Program
What Spice Companies Need to Know About the Presence and Control of Spore-forming Bacteria on Spice
ASTA commissioned research on surrogate identification and science-based groupings of spices for use in validation studies. This research evaluated the viability of E Faecium as a surrogate organism for Salmonella in spice validation studies. Additionally, the study outlines an approach for science-based groupings of spices for the purposes of validation.