Before we started this topic, how many of us always think that the heat from spice ‘Especially Chili’ can actually chase all the agriculture pest away causing not necessary or even ‘0’ use of any pesticide to protect the crop during the entire planting process? Indeed, it might help in a certain degree of pest control but it will not be 100% because capsaicin may only burn and irritate the flesh of mammals, birds and insect are completely immune to its effects. So….
How Spices are usually been Sterilized?
This is the cheapest and most common method used to sterilize spices. This process allows ethylene oxide gas to diffuse freely and permeate the spices. As a result, there is residue leftover on the spices. This means aeration is necessary to let the residue dissipate.
This process is less harsh than fumigation since gamma rays (yes, radiation) can penetrate even high-density packaging. And the good news is that irradiation does not create residues like fumigation, and aeration is not required. The downside is that irradiation reduces the flavor and nutrients of spices in the process. Products treated with this method require labeling.
Steaming is the only sterilization process approved for items to be certified organic. However, it is the most expensive sterilizing process. This method uses dry stream (a.k.a. very, very hot water) to steam and to destroy bacteria while retaining all the flavor of the spices. No chemicals, no radiation – just steaming mist.
The key methods of sterilization of spices in the non-organic industry are irradiation and ethylene oxide treatment. Irradiation has enough of a negative connotation in consumers’ minds that it is almost never labeled when used in food products, and generally does not require disclosure. Ethylene oxide treatment also does not have to be disclosed on treated products. However, one by-product of its application is the formation of ethyl chlorohydrin, a carcinogen 致癌物, which is formed in high levels in some spices as they are treated.
Standard spices may throw in additive fillers, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. This is pretty easy to check on as the ingredient list will reveal the presence of these non-food elements, but if you buy organic spices then you can take them in a peace of mind!
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