Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Well, I am glad I highlighted the risks of Salmonella bacteria in spices in The Safe Food Handbook. It has cropped up again. This time it is in ground nutmeg - including the Whole Foods non-organic one and the Frontier Brand ground nutmeg.

Yes, they came from the same source, and my guess is that this is not the end: other brands of nutmeg will also be found to be contaminated soon too. The recalled nutmeg was distributed by Frontier Natural Products Co-op, which got it from Mincing Overseas Spice Company of Dayton, New Jersey, which imported it from Indonesia, and supposedly sterilized it (sterilization is not always 100% successful, but some of us prefer it to fumigation, which is more commonly used).

You may want to go easy on using this very seasonal spice unless you cook it thoroughly (which will kill the bacteria). But, as one of my friends said, "We don't use much nutmeg, so is it enough to make us sick?" Yes, bacteria are tiny, and if it is contaminated badly enough, 100 or more Salmonella can be sitting on that one small pinch.

By the way - this same importer was involved in a recall of Salmonella-contaminated black pepper in March, 2010. Why does Whole Foods keep selling their products?


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