2010-2011 Gluten in Ground Spices

Executive Summary

The Food Safety Action Plan (FSAP) aims to modernize and enhance Canada’s food safety system. As part of the FSAP enhanced surveillance initiative, targeted surveys are used to evaluate various foods for specific hazards.

Ground spices are common in Canadian households. The range of spices in Canada has increased because of the introduction of a wide variety of multi-cultural foods to the population.

The main objective of the gluten in ground spices survey was:

  • To obtain baseline information regarding the presence and levels of gluten in ground spices.
  • To identify potential food safety concerns relating to gluten in ground spices.

A total of 268 ground spices, consisting of a single spice, were sampled and analyzed for the presence of gluten. The ground spices sampled are regulated under the Food and Drug Act and Regulations and are not permitted to contain any other ingredient. If a source of gluten is added, such as flour, this may pose a health risk to individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Of the 268 samples analyzed, 63 samples (24%) contained detectable levels of gluten ranging from 5 ppm to 20,000 ppm. The majority, 62, of these samples had a level of gluten that would not pose a risk to a sensitive individual. One sample of mace was determined to be in violation of the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations and was recalled.

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