We are presenting here information related to Organic Food Industry that will be useful to buyers.
What is the difference between spice and herb ?
Spices are derived from aromatic plants’ bark, roots, seeds, buds and fruits. They include for example: pepper, capsicums (chilies and cayenne pepper), coriander, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mace, caraway, cumin, turmeric, cloves, cardamom, fennel, mustard, cardamom, fenugreek, vanilla.
Herbs are typically derived from aromatic plants’ leafy parts. They include for example: lemon, verbena, dill, water mint, lemongrass, orange leaves, camomile, lemon balm, peppermint, borage, basil, celery, oregano, parsely, rosemary, thyme, caraway.
Why organic spices & herbs are important in your food ?.
We use very small quantity of spices and herbs in our daily lives. So why use organic spices ?. We have to look at this issue very closely. For example, 100 gm of spices are made from 1000 gm of raw product. Amount of chemical pesticide and other chemicals have very high concentration in a small pinch. If you use Cinnamon or Black pepper every day, amount of chemical consumption is huge over a period of time.
Most of the conventional or so called natural spices are treated with nasty chemical pesticide ETO. This pesticide alone can cause severe damage to human body. Jury is still out on the safe consumption of ETO in the food.
Chronic ethylene oxide exposure may cause delayed peripheral nerve damage (neuropathy), especially in the lower extremities. Although the results are inconclusive, some data suggest that chronic ethylene oxide exposure impairs cognitive function. Ethylene oxide may also damage the liver and kidneys. Skin allergy can occur, and some persons may become sensitized to the chemical. Cataracts and corneal burns have been reported from occupational exposure. Chronic exposure may be more serious for children because of their potential longer latency period.
The DHHS has determined that ethylene oxide may reasonably be anticipated to be a human carcinogen (NTP 2000). In animals, chronic exposure causes leukemia and intra-abdominal cancer, and there is some evidence that it increases the risk of leukemia in human workers. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that ethylene oxide is carcinogenic to humans.
Reproductive and Developmental Effects
Ethylene oxide is included in Reproductive and Developmental Toxicants, a 1991 report published by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) that lists 30 chemicals of concern because of widely acknowledged reproductive and developmental consequences.
Special consideration regarding the exposure of pregnant women is warranted, since ethylene oxide has been shown to be a teratogen and genotoxin; thus, medical counseling is recommended for the acutely exposed pregnant woman.
Please visit the following link to learn about ETO (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/mmg/mmg.asp?id=730&tid=133What are the organic labeling categories ?
The USDA ensures consumers that their organic food has not been processed or grown using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. It also means the food could not have been produced using genetic engineering, growth hormones, irradiation or antibiotics. Farms growing under the USDA label must maintain strict records of their farm's activities and are subject to regular and surprise inspections. Farms must have been free of most chemicals for three years before being certified, and must undergo many soil tests (pesticide residue, heavy metal etc.). Also, crops must be rotated, meaning the same crop is not grown on the same plot of land year after year. Please visit the National Organic Program for more information.
US food and fiber products labeled organic are regulated by USDA's National Organic Program. Key components of the organic regulations are:
What is Aflatoxin ? In the United States, aflatoxins have been identified in corn and corn products, peanuts and peanut products, cottonseed, milk, and tree nuts such as Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachio nuts, and walnuts. Other grains and nuts are susceptible but less prone to contamination. Please read the link from FDA (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap41.html)
What is Salmonella spp ? Salmonella is a rod-shaped, motile bacterium -- nonmotile exceptions S. gallinarum and S. pullorum--, nonsporeforming and Gram-negative. There is a widespread occurrence in animals, especially in poultry and swine. Environmental sources of the organism include water, soil, insects, factory surfaces, kitchen surfaces, animal feces, raw meats, raw poultry, and raw seafoods, to name only a few.
Raw meats, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products, fish, shrimp, frog legs, yeast, coconut, sauces and salad dressing, cake mixes, cream-filled desserts and toppings, dried gelatin, peanut butter, cocoa, and chocolate have been identified to carry this bacteria. Various Salmonella species have long been isolated from the outside of egg shells. The present situation with S. enteritidis is complicated by the presence of the organism inside the egg, in the yolk. This and other information strongly suggest vertical transmission, i.e., deposition of the organism in the yolk by an infected layer hen prior to shell deposition. Foods other than eggs have also caused outbreaks of S. enteritidis disease. For more information, please visit the FDA site (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap1.html)
What is Bacillus cereus ? A wide variety of foods including meats, milk, vegetables, and fish have been associated with the diarrheal type food poisoning. The vomiting-type outbreaks have generally been associated with rice products; however, other starchy foods such as potato, pasta and cheese products have also been implicated. Food mixtures such as sauces, puddings, soups, casseroles, pastries, and salads have frequently been incriminated in food poisoning outbreaks.
What is Staphylococcus aureus ? Foods that are frequently incriminated in staphylococcal food poisoning include meat and meat products; poultry and egg products; salads such as egg, tuna, chicken, potato, and macaroni; bakery products such as cream-filled pastries, cream pies, and chocolate eclairs; sandwich fillings; and milk and dairy products. Foods that require considerable handling during preparation and that are kept at slightly elevated temperatures after preparation are frequently involved in staphylococcal food poisoning. Staphylococci exist in air, dust, sewage, water, milk, and food or on food equipment, environmental surfaces, humans, and animals. Humans and animals are the primary reservoirs. Staphylococci are present in the nasal passages and throats and on the hair and skin of 50 percent or more of healthy individuals. This incidence is even higher for those who associate with or who come in contact with sick individuals and hospital environments. Although food handlers are usually the main source of food contamination in food poisoning outbreaks, equipment and environmental surfaces can also be sources of contamination with S. aureus. Human intoxication is caused by ingesting enterotoxins produced in food by some strains of S. aureus, usually because the food has not been kept hot enough (60°C, 140°F, or above) or cold enough (7.2°C, 45°F, or below). For more information, please visit the FDA link (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap3.html)
What is E. Coli ? Currently, there are four recognized classes of enterovirulent E. coli (collectively referred to as the EEC group) that cause gastroenteritis in humans. Among these is the enterohemorrhagic (EHEC) strain designated E. coli O157:H7. E. coli is a normal inhabitant of the intestines of all animals, including humans. When aerobic culture methods are used, E. coli is the dominant species found in feces. Normally E. coli serves a useful function in the body by suppressing the growth of harmful bacterial species and by synthesizing appreciable amounts of vitamins. A minority of E. coli strains are capable of causing human illness by several different mechanisms. E. coli serotype O157:H7 is a rare variety of E. coli that produces large quantities of one or more related, potent toxins that cause severe damage to the lining of the intestine. Undercooked or raw hamburger (ground beef) has been implicated in many of the documented outbreaks, however E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks have implicated alfalfa sprouts, unpasteurized fruit juices, dry-cured salami, lettuce, game meat, and cheese curds. Raw milk was the vehicle in a school outbreak in Canada. Among these are the enteropathogenic (EPEC) strains. EPEC are defined as E. coli belonging to serogroups epidemiologically implicated as pathogens but whose virulence mechanism is unrelated to the excretion of typical E. coli enterotoxins. E. coli are Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria belonging the family Enterobacteriaceae. Source(s) and prevalence of EPEC are controversial because foodborne outbreaks are sporadic. Humans, bovines, and swine can be infected, and the latter often serve as common experimental animal models. E. coli are present in the normal gut flora of these mammals. Common foods implicated in EPEC outbreaks are raw beef and chicken, although any food exposed to fecal contamination is strongly suspect.EPEC outbreaks most often affect infants, especially those that are bottle fed, suggesting that contaminated water is often used to rehydrate infant formulae in underdeveloped countries. For more information, please visit FDA site ( http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap14.html )