Washington, Sept. 1 (PTI): Spices from India, the largest exporter of the cooking ingredients to the US, have come under the scanner of health watchdog FDA for being susceptible to Salmonella contamination.
Salmonella germs are said to have been behind many food-poisoning outbreaks in America and the Federal Drug Administration has put nearly 200 India-based firms on its red list because of the presence of the bacteria in the spices and food products they exported between 2009 and 2013. Exports by companies on the red list can face “detention without physical examination”.
According to the FDA red-list import alert, the contaminated spices include capsicum, cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, celery, basil and pepper.
The FDA had initiated a research to characterise the prevalence of Salmonella in imported spices amid growing concerns about infections caused by the bacteria.
The study, whose findings are yet to be made public in full, had focused on over 20,000 food shipments that arrived between 2007 and 2009 and found that around 7 per cent of spices were contaminated. Spices from India were found to be the second-most contaminated after Mexico.
India exported nearly 7 lakh tonnes of spices and spice products, valued at over Rs 11,100 crore, in the financial year 2013 against 5.75 lakh tonnes, valued at over Rs 9,700 crore, in financial year 2012.