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What’s in Your Spice Mix?

Jun/07/2024 / by Team Seema

How to be sure you’re really eating clean

Researching food, restaurants and their makers is often a pretty fabulous job, but like anything pretty on the surface sometimes it’s scary what lies beneath. Shireen Qadri from Moji Masala says they source many of their spices as seeds to avoid any additives like metal. What exactly did she mean by this? Why would metal be in our Indian spices? 

Turns out metals are sometimes added to spices for coloring or to increase weight. Say what? That’s why Moji Masala grinds their spices themselves. They want to know exactly what they are giving us, so we know exactly what we’re putting in our bodies. 

This slight mention of metal was not lost on us, so we did some digging. We found out this practice is no secret. Times Entertainment, a part of the Times of India reported that in the last five years the European Union has flagged more than 400 export food products from India as “highly contaminated.” Spices aren’t the only items we should be wary of. Dangerous elements like the cancer-causing agents cadmium and mercury were found in fish and octopus and that’s just the beginning. Fungicide and pesticide laced food items like rice, herbs and spices, chilies and even beans for your morning cup of Joe were flagged. Salmonella also made the list being spotted in shatavari, ashwagandha, and sesame seeds. As you delve deeper into the EU reports it almost seems no foods are safe. So now what? Do we just go hungry? 

The system is not perfect but like the EU, those residing in the U.S. can be comforted knowing the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service prevents a lot of these contaminants from coming anywhere near consumers. Here’re five more tips to help you eat clean. 

  1. Stick with purveyors you trust! 
  2. Choose products with minimal or no additives.
  3. Get to know the worst offenders.
  4. Buy local and organic food products.
  5. Report anything suspicious to your local health department.
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