“Every spice, everything, has traceability. And that's the way it should be,” Merrifield said. “I feel good about the safeguards that are in place.”
A statement issued Thursday from the American Spice Trade Association acknowledged spices imported into the United States may be grown in tropical or subtropical countries “where sanitation and food handling practices may not always be adequate.”
The group says most of the imported spices come to the United States as raw agricultural commodities and then undergo extensive cleaning and treatment once they enter the country.
Felicia Schaefer, owner of Edmond-based Cedar Hill Seasonings, said the spices the company sells undergo a battery of tests to ensure they don't contain contaminants.
Besides making and selling its own line of spices, Cedar Hill also blends spices and does labeling for smaller seasoning makers in the area. Although its spices come from all over the world, the company only deals with reputable suppliers, Schaefer said.
“We buy from such quality suppliers that everything is screened at least three or four times,” Schaefer said. “We've never had a problem.”