What is the value of food without spices? It would be bland, tasteless, colorless and completely inedible. But did you know that some spices contain ingredients that are harmful to your health?
According to Thomas Fricke, co-founder and president of ForesTrade, organic spice companies in Brattleboro, Vermont, all conventional spices sold in the US are fumigated [sterilized] with dangerous chemicals banned in Europe, marketed through corruption of public officials and ignorance of consumers.
Sterilization of spices
The contamination of spices usually occurs during processing and storage prior to distribution and sale. They can be contaminated by parts of insects, rodent hairs and feces.
To get rid of these ingredients, producers sterilize their spices with toxic chemicals, such as ethylene oxide. Laboratory animals exposed to ethylene oxide often contract cancers and cellular tests confirm that ethylene oxide causes genetic mutations and chromosomal lesions that can cause cancer.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency: “Long-term exposure to ethylene oxide causes irritation of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes in humans, as well as depression of the central nervous system, mainly brain and nerves.”
This product is just one example of the harmful chemical components contained in spices. In the second part of this article, we will present in detail other studies that have explored the dangers of conventional condiments on public health.
Scientific research on radiation, preservatives and GMOs in spices says:
Some data on human cancer show an increase in leukemia, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer and Hodgkin’s disease in workers exposed to ethylene oxide. However, these data are considered to be inconclusive and limited due to suspicions in the studies. Ethylene oxide has been classified by EPA as a B1 group, a probable carcinogen for humans.
Another method of sterilizing spices is irradiation of food. This is the process of using radiation to kill bacteria and other contaminants. But the radiation used to reduce bacteria in spices, reduces the levels of natural vitamins and enzymes in the finished product.
Submission to radiation modifies the chemical composition of a spice, potentially creating toxic and carcinogenic by-products in foods, multiplying consumer exposure to free radicals, which cause aging of cells and diseases.
Monosodium glutamate, a danger to be feared
A lot of spices on the market contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), a non-essential amino acid listed as carcinogen. An endocrine disruptor that slowly kills brain cells and is also linked to the development of kidney problems, heart problems , neurological disorders, Alzheimer ‘s, Parkinson’ s and Lou Gehrig ‘s disease, inflammation, migraines and obesity.
Producers hide MSG under several names, including, but not limited to sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed protein, textured protein, autolyzed yeast and yeast extract.
Most spices contain free glutamate (E: 621) which is essentially the same product as monosodium glutamate. Instead of adding more in its most responsive form, they treat the ingredients so as to create a free glutamic acid that produces the same effects while escaping labeling.
Conventional spices may also contain anti-caking agents that prevent them from caking, GMO soybeans and corn by-products, artificial inorganic colors, artificial flavors and preservatives. All of them potentially hazardous products whose combinations have not yet been studied.
For more tastes and safety, opt for organic spices that do not contain any danger, artificial colors, synthetic anti-caking agents, preservatives or flavors. They are also not irradiated and are GMO free.
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