FDA requests comments data on pathogens filth in spices

April 28, 2010

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a notice requesting comments and scientific data and information that would assist the agency in conducting a risk profile for pathogens and filth in spices. Comments and information must be submitted no later than June 21, 2010.

In response to recent foodborne illness outbreaks caused by Salmonella in white and black pepper in April 2009 and red and black pepper in March 2010, the FDA has decided to conduct a risk profile for pathogens and filth in spices. The FDA defines a “risk profile” as a science-based document that describes the current state of knowledge about a food safety problem or issue and provides an evaluation of the data in support of current interventions or new approaches to reduce or prevent illnesses. A risk profile provides a qualitative evaluation of a hazard and options for controlling it.

The purpose of the risk profile is to: (1) describe the nature and extent of the public health risk by identifying the most commonly occurring microbial and filth hazards in spices; (2) describe and evaluate current mitigation and control options; (3) identify potential additional mitigation and control options; and (4) identify research needs and data gaps. The risk profile may affect FDA’s allocation of resources and may lead to FDA guidance or regulations.

Federal Register notice (pdf)