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.

1 Follower
20 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Tahini is usually consumed without further heat treatment, and roasting of sesame seeds is the only Salmonella inactivation step in its traditional production process. This study examined the efficiency of the roasting process in the elimination of Salmonella from sesame seeds and the survival of Salmonella in tahini during storage. Sesame seed and tahini samples were inoculated with a cocktail of three serotypes of Salmonella (S. Typhimurium, S. Newport and S. Montevideo). Complete inactivation of Salmonella in sesame seeds, inoculated with 5.9log cfu/g, was achieved by roasting at 110°C for 60min, 130°C for 50min, or 150°C for 30min. Salmonella levels in tahini (aw=0.17) inoculated with 5.6log cfu/g and stored for 16weeks at 22 or 4°C decreased by 4.5 and 3.3 log, respectively. Results of this study demonstrated that the standard roasting process is sufficient to inactivate Salmonella in sesame seeds and low water activity of tahini prevents microbial growth, but its composition allows Salmonella to survive for at least 16weeks. Therefore, prevention of cross-contamination after roasting is crucial for food safety.
    International journal of food microbiology 03/2013; 163(2-3):214-217. DOI:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2013.03.010 · 3.08 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In response to increased concerns about spice safety, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initiated research to characterize the prevalence and levels of Salmonella in imported spices. 299 imported dried capsicum shipments and 233 imported sesame seed shipments offered for entry to the United States were sampled. Observed Salmonella shipment prevalence was 3.3% (1500 g examined; 95% CI 1.6-6.1%) for capsicum and 9.9% (1500 g; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 6.3-14%) for sesame seed. Within shipment contamination was not inconsistent with a Poisson distribution. Shipment mean Salmonella level estimates among contaminated shipments ranged from 6 × 10(-4) to 0.09 (capsicum) or 6 × 10(-4) to 0.04 (sesame seed) MPN/g. A gamma-Poisson model provided the best fit to observed data for both imported shipments of capsicum and imported shipments of sesame seed sampled in this study among the six parametric models considered. Shipment mean levels of Salmonella vary widely between shipments; many contaminated shipments contain low levels of contamination. Examination of sampling plan efficacy for identifying contaminated spice shipments from these distributions indicates that sample size of spice examined is critical. Sampling protocols examining 25 g samples are predicted to be able to identify a small fraction of contaminated shipments of imported capsicum or sesame seeds.
    Food Microbiology 12/2013; 36(2):149-60. DOI:10.1016/ · 3.33 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This review identified fourteen reported illness outbreaks attributed to consumption of pathogen-contaminated spice during the period 1973-2010. Countries reporting outbreaks included Canada, Denmark, England and Wales, France, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Serbia, and the United States. Together, these outbreaks resulted in 1946 reported human illnesses, 128 hospitalizations and two deaths. Infants/children were the primary population segments impacted by 36% (5/14) of spice-attributed outbreaks. Four outbreaks were associated with multiple organisms. Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica was identified as the causative agent in 71% (10/14) of outbreaks, accounting for 87% of reported illnesses. Bacillus spp. was identified as the causative agent in 29% (4/10) of outbreaks, accounting for 13% of illnesses. 71% (10/14) of outbreaks were associated with spices classified as fruits or seeds of the source plant. Consumption of ready-to-eat foods prepared with spices applied after the final food manufacturing pathogen reduction step accounted for 70% of illnesses. Pathogen growth in spiced food is suspected to have played a role in some outbreaks, but it was not likely a contributing factor in three of the larger Salmonella outbreaks, which involved low-moisture foods. Root causes of spice contamination included contributions from both early and late stages of the farm-to-table continuum.
    Food Microbiology 12/2013; 36(2):456-64. DOI:10.1016/ · 3.33 Impact Factor
Show more