Heavy metal contamination of spices

The concerns of food safety are rising in developing countries such as South Africa as a result of heavy metal contamination of culinary herbs and spices.

Publication Type

Journal Article

Experts

Jyoti Agarwal, Padma Parthvi, Piyush Gupta, RP Singh, Rukma Parthvi

Time Frame

2013

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Description

Spices and herbs are used for therapeutic purposes as well as flavoring and coloring food. Heavy metals in spices represent significant health risks due to their high toxicity in high quantities. A total of 20 spices samples were purchased from different registered shops, for heavy metals analysis. The samples were prepared, digested, and analyzed with an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS). To ensure the method’s accuracy, Polish Certified Reference Mixed Polish Herbs (INCT-MPH-2) from the Food and Drugs Control Center, Poland, was analyzed. The concentrations of Fe (32.22 ± 1.22–131.1 ± 3.26 mg/kg), As (ND to 0.12 ± 0.04 mg/kg), Cr (0.08 ± 0.01–3.2 ± 0.09 mg/kg), Pb (N.D – 0.21 ± 0.02 mg/kg) and Cd (ND to 0.14 ± 0.08 mg/kg) mg/kg were measured. The results revealed that the concentrations of Cr in all spice samples tested were much higher than the Maximum permissible limit (MPL) values. All spices in this study had THQ and HI values less than one, indicating that consumers will experience no potential health hazards from consuming specific metals through spices. However, continual scrutiny should be maintained.

Additional information

Publication Type

Journal Article

Experts

Jyoti Agarwal, Padma Parthvi, Piyush Gupta, RP Singh, Rukma Parthvi

Time Frame

2013