What are the risks of microbiological infections for spices?
Spices can be contaminated with various microorganisms, such as bacteria, molds and yeasts, if not properly handled and stored. Some of the microbiological diseases associated with the consumption of contaminated spices include:
- Food poisoning : Bacteria such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Staphylococcus aureus can grow on spices if not properly handled and stored. If these contaminated spices are eaten, they can cause serious food poisoning.
- Mycotoxicosis : Molds can also grow on spices stored in high humidity conditions and can produce health-damaging mycotoxins.
- Fermentation: Yeasts can also grow on spices stored in high humidity conditions and can cause excessive fermentation of food products in which the spices are used.
Which industrial pasteurization treatment to treat contaminated spices while preserving its intrinsic qualities?
The treatment to prevent microbiological diseases associated with spices depends on the type of spice and the type of microorganism to be eliminated. In general, industrial treatments for spices include:
- Pasteurization: Consists of subjecting spices to high temperatures for a specific period of time in order to kill bacteria, molds and yeasts.
- Drying: Consists of eliminating excess humidity to prevent the development of molds and yeasts.
- Sterilization: Involves subjecting the spices to even higher temperatures than pasteurization in order to kill any microorganisms present, including thermoresistant spores.
It is recommended that a subject matter expert be consulted to assess the most appropriate treatment options for each type of spice and microorganism.