Extraneous/foreign matter (% by weight)


aMoldy pieces and/or insect-infested pieces by weight.

aMoldy pieces and/or insect-infested pieces by weight.

Table 11.2 Defect Action Levels (DAL) for ginger (FDA)


Insect filth and/or mold Average of 3% or more pieces by weight are insect infected and/or moldy

Mammalian excreta Average of 3 mg or more of mammalian excreta per pound covered by ASTA. If the defects exceed the DAL, the spice will be detained and subjected to reconditioning (cleaning to remove the defect). If defects cannot be removed by reconditioning, the lot may be destroyed or returned to the supplier. Table 11.2 shows the DAL for ginger (FDA, 1995).


The presence of microorganisms in food products is critical from the point of view of human health. Pathogenic organisms can lead to foodborne diseases. Unhygienic drying and improper storage contribute to the growth of microorganisms on spices. Importing countries have stipulated the limits for microbiological load in spices. Microbiological specification under German law (Table 11.3) (Spices Board, 2002) is a typical example.

Pesticide Residues

Uncontrolled application of chemical pesticides at various stages of plant growth results in the accumulation of pesticide residues in spices; sometimes to levels beyond the acceptable limits. With the emerging disclosures derived from advanced clinical studies

Table 11.3 Microbiological specification for spices under German law


Standard value (per gram)

Danger value (per gram)

Total aerobic bacteria



Escherichia coli



Bacillus cereus


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