Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 65, Issue 4, pp 364–368

Assessment of the Microbiological Safety of Dried Spices and Herbs Commercialized in Spain



Spices and herbs are natural products or their blends that must be free of extraneous matter content. Conventional production of these products implicates a number of hygienic problems so spices and herbs may be exposed to a wide range of microbial contamination during pre- and post-harvest and they can present high microbial counts. In this study, we have analyzed the microbial quality of 53 samples of spices and dry herbs collected from Spanish markets detecting a contamination of samples of spices with mesophilic aerobic counts (10%) and Enterobacteriaceae (20%). The analysis from herbs showed that the percentage of contamination was 26% in both microbiological values. Pathogenic microorganisms like Staphylococcus aureus, Yersinia intermedia, Shigella spp., Enterobacter spp., Acinetobacter calcoaceticus and Hafni alvei were also isolated from spices and herbs. These unsatisfactory results showed a poor microbiological quality. Spices and dry herbs are used as ingredients in a variety of products prepared in different ways, this fact suggests the need to provide a control system to improve the quality of herbs and spices.


Herbs Shigella spp. Spices Staphylococcus aureus Yersinia intermedia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Sospedra
    • 1
  • Jose M. Soriano
    • 1
  • Jordi Mañes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Preventive Medicine, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of ValenciaBurjassotSpain

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