Research – Mineral and Microbiological Analysis of Spices and Aromatic Herbs

MDPI

Spices and aromatic herbs have always had great historical importance in human nutrition. Their use has been documented for centuries as a rich source of bioactive compounds; they have been used for their health benefits and also for flavoring or coloring food. However, despite the many health properties linked to the use of spices and aromatic herbs, these can represent biological hazards and can contain chemical substances of concern. Certainly, monitoring potential health hazards in spices and aromatic herbs includes microbiological safety and also the content of inorganic substances: both represent a key step. This research aims at monitoring the compliance of various spices and aromatic herbs from a non-European country market (namely: black cumin seeds, Iranian Tokhme Sharbati, clove buds, Shahjeera, Abbaszadeh saffron, organic fenugreek, whole black pepper, cinnamon, Abthul Ahmar (Asario), Ajwan seeds, whole coriander seeds, black sesame seeds, Sabja seeds) with the current European Union (EU) and WHO regulations, when available, regarding mineral and microbiological parameters. In particular, microbiological assays using rapid and conventional methods, and trace mineral determination by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) were performed. Results show the safety of the tested spices, given that the microbiological parameters were within the legal microbiological criteria set by the European Commission Regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005 and its amendment Regulation (EC) No. 1441/2007. With reference to potentially toxic Cd, Pb, As, Hg, these were within the limits set by the European Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006 and its amendments, Regulation (EU) No. 1317/2021 and Regulation (EU) No. 1323/2021, and WHO. According to EU regulations, for Pb content, 2 samples out of 16 showed values different from the set limits. View Full-Text

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