I recently purchased a home curry kit which comprised of various powdered spices (including chilli, cumin, coriander etc.) and a separate curry sauce. To use, the meat or veg is fried until browned, the spices added and fried for a few minutes. The curry sauce is then added and the dish simmered until cooked.

To my surprise, on the side of the jar it stated "Always ensure spices are thoroughly cooked before serving". Upon researching this further, I discovered that some herbs and spices suffer from e-coli and salmonella contamination.

This begs the question if I want to add chilli powder, dried oregano etc. directly to a yoghurt/mayonnaise dip for Shawarma, what is the best method to pre-cook them beforehand or are the amounts of spice used in such dishes so small the chance of illness is insignificant?

More importantly, what are the worst herb/spice culprits for contamination?

  • 5
    I've never seen that on a dried spice jar in 40 years of cooking. I'd say, find another brand.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 8:31
  • 1
    Most of the spices in the US are sterilized (heat, autoclave, irradiated or fumigated)… but I think that’s to kill insects more than bacteria, to prevent the possibility of an invasive species. What country are you in?
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 10:53
  • I'm in the UK, the product was an Aldi own brand Chicken Tikka Masala sauce. I've seen it on some Indian spice packets quite recently as well, though I can't remember the brand.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 18:13
  • 1
    Can you link your sources for "some herbs and spices suffer from e-coli and salmonella contamination"?
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 22:05


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