About Food Safety

Food safety can be defined as the “the avoidance of food borne pathogens, chemical toxicants and physical hazards, but also includes issues of nutrition, food quality and education.” The focus is on “microbial, chemical or physical hazards from substances than can cause adverse consequences.”

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Antimicrobial effects of spices and herbs

The term spices and herb are usually used to describe a group of aromatic plant parts, including the bark (cinnamon), buds (cloves), flowers (saffron), leaves (bay leaf sage) etc.

In addition to their household uses, they are used in virtually all categories of the food industry. Spices and herbs are used in foods to impart flavour, pungency and color. They also have antioxidant, antimicrobials, pharmaceutical and nutritional properties.

Because of their antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, spices have dual function – in addition to imparting flavor and taste, they play a major role in food preservation by delaying the spoilage of food.
thyme

Spices which have strong antimicrobial activity include all-spice, cinnamon, clove, mustard and vanilla.  Among herbs the higher antimicrobial activities were found in basil, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme.

Some spices have stronger antimicrobial activity than others. Generally, spices, herbs and their essential oils are used in food systems within the range of 0.05 – 0.1 % (500-1000 ppm).

Essential oils extracted from spices and herbs are generally recognized as containing the active antimicrobial compounds. For example:
*Allicin (garlic)
*Allyl isothiocyanate (mustard)
*Cinnamaldehyde, Eugenol (cinnamon)
*Thymol, Eugenol (sage)
*Thymol, Cravacrol (oregano)
Antimicrobial effects of spices and herbs

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