I read this sentence 'We probably buy a variety of ground spices every month and when packaged spices of our choice are not available, we end up buying loose spices. This increases our risk of consuming adulterated spices.'

Ground spices means the spice has been ground down into a coarse or fine powder. However what's a 'packaged spice' and a 'loose spice'? I know ground spices are packaged small bottles or plastic bags or what am I not understanding?

  • Loose means whole spices mostly dry. – HungryFoodi Nov 19 '19 at 4:40
  • @HungryFoodi still dont get it. whole spices are whole and unadulterated usually. yet the article mentions loose spices are adulterated. – James Wilson Nov 19 '19 at 4:58
  • Whole spices means they are raw, unprocessed and untested for any anomaly. You still sure about whole spices being unadulterated ? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adulterated_food – HungryFoodi Nov 19 '19 at 5:14
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is little more than an English Language comprehension question. – Tetsujin Nov 19 '19 at 10:24
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    @Tetsujin Since when has the definition of cooking related terms been off-topic here? – Ross Ridge Nov 19 '19 at 18:16

I take the term "loose" to mean spices sold from large containers, scooped into a bag, rather than a sealed and packaged off-the-shelf product.

spices at the market

A sealed container, produced commercially, is (presumably) inspected and regulated to avoid adulteration. When you buy from an open container at a market or store, you have no way to know if it was mixed with something.

And still, I prefer to buy fresh loose spices, from vendors I trust.

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  • I'm sure you're right about the meaning. There's an additional opportunity for them to be adulterated, by the vendor (they're still dried, ground, and packed somewhere, quite it the same place that packs small containers), and they're open to the elements, which may lead to premature loss of flavour or colour. But a good vendor will be trustworthy and sell them quick enough that they don't have time to get stale, and you can see what you're getting. – Chris H Nov 19 '19 at 6:51
  • As a non-native english speaker I would associate "loose spice" with whole, non-ground spice. If I would read the term (or the equivalent term) in german it would strike me as odd but it would have the whole spice connotation to me. – jmk Nov 20 '19 at 17:55
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    @jmk You can find a similar English usage in "loose tea" - it's not whole-leaf tea, just tea that's not packaged in tea bags. – Avner Shahar-Kashtan Nov 20 '19 at 17:58

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