In the U.S.A., when a product's ingredients include spices what can this legally cover?
The term Spices on food labels can cover a very wide range of ingredients. This general term is only allowed when the ingredient is in a small quantity and not a major constituent of the product. Spices can be any vegetable sourced material that is used for flavour or arroma. Spices may be whole or ground, may be dry or fresh.
For details look at this page on the FDA website:
DEFINITIONS: 1. SPICES - General Definition - Aromatic vegetable substances, in the whole, broken, or ground form, whose significant function in food is seasoning rather than nutrition. They are true to name and from them no portion of any volatile oil or other flavoring principle has been removed.