Prevalence, serotype diversity, and antimicrobial resistance of Salmonella in imported shipments of spice offered for entry to the United States, FY2007-FY2009. Food Microbiol

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD 20740, USA. Electronic address: .
Food Microbiology (Impact Factor: 3.33). 06/2013; 34(2):239-51. DOI: 10.1016/
Source: PubMed


In response to increased concerns about spice safety, the U.S. FDA initiated research to characterize the prevalence of Salmonella in imported spices. Shipments of imported spices offered for entry to the United Sates were sampled during the fiscal years 2007-2009. The mean shipment prevalence for Salmonella was 0.066 (95% CI 0.057-0.076). A wide diversity of Salmonella serotypes was isolated from spices; no single serotype constituted more than 7% of the isolates. A small percentage of spice shipments were contaminated with antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella strains (8.3%). Trends in shipment prevalence for Salmonella associated with spice properties, extent of processing, and export country, were examined. A larger proportion of shipments of spices derived from fruit/seeds or leaves of plants were contaminated than those derived from the bark/flower of spice plants. Salmonella prevalence was larger for shipments of ground/cracked capsicum and coriander than for shipments of their whole spice counterparts. No difference in prevalence was observed between shipments of spice blends and non-blended spices. Some shipments reported to have been subjected to a pathogen reduction treatment prior to being offered for U.S. entry were found contaminated. Statistical differences in Salmonella shipment prevalence were also identified on the basis of export country.

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