Organic vs Non-Organic Spices

Before we started this topic, how many of us always think that the heat from spice ‘Especially Chili’ can actually chase all the agriculture pest away causing not necessary or even ‘0’ use of any pesticide to protect the crop during the entire planting process? Indeed, it might help in a certain degree of pest control but it will not be 100%. So…

How Spice Usually Been Sterilized?

Fumigation

This is the cheapest and most common method used to sterilize spices. This process allows ethylene oxide gas to diffuse freely and permeate the spices. As a result, there is residue leftover on the spices. This means aeration is necessary to let the residue dissipate.

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Irradiation

This process is less harsh than fumigation since gamma rays (yes, radiation) can penetrate even high-density packaging. More good news is that irradiation does not create residues like fumigation, and aeration is not required. The downside is that irradiation reduces the flavor and nutrients of spices in the process. Products treated with this method require labeling. Just to clarify, one irradiated item = labeled. Two irradiated items = not labeled.

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Steaming

Steaming is the only sterilization process approved for items to be certified organic. However, it is the most expensive sterilizing process. This method uses dry stream (a.k.a. very, very hot water) to destroy bacteria while retaining all the flavor of the spices. No chemicals, no radiation – just water.

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Outcome

The key methods of sterilization of spices in the non-organic industry are irradiation and ethylene oxide treatment. Irradiation has enough of a negative connotation in consumers minds that it is almost never labeled when used in food products, and generally does not require disclosure. Ethylene oxide treatment also does not have to be disclosed on treated products. However, one by-product of it’s application is the formation of ethyl chlorohydrin, a carcinogen, which is formed in high levels in some spices as they are treated.

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Additives

Standard spices may throw in additive fillers, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. This is pretty easy to check on as the ingredient list will reveal the presence of these non-food elements, but if you buy organic spices then you have a label guarantee to that effect.

Packaging

One other thing you may notice that is any inexpensive spices come in dinky plastic bottles. This makes them feel literally cheaper, and they have an additional downside of using BPA-laden plastic. Glass bottles are free from the presence of BPA. So it will just be another aspect to consider.
 

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