Allergen risk assessment model for dried herbs and spices


The Seasoning and Spice Association

The mission of The Seasoning and Spice Association is to be the leading voice of the UK Seasoning and Spice industry in the interests of members, food manufacturers and consumers alike.

The SSA's principal objective is to promote the interests of its members in all aspects of the importation, processing and distribution of seasonings, herbs, spices ad related products.

The Seasoning and Spice Association is a member of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

15 June 2016 - Open Letter to the British Retail Consortium, Food and Drink Federation and Seasoning and Spice Association

I was aware that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) had organised a workshop for industry to discuss the issues of authenticity of herbs and spices on sale in the UK following reports of fraud perpetrated in North America in 2015. I was delighted that the FSA had taken this leadership role. I was also made aware that the industry had agreed to develop guidelines to help protect themselves and ultimately the consumer from fraud. I thought this a very positive outcome to the workshop.

The 'Guidance on Authenticity of Herbs and Spices' was published this week and I reviewed the document with great interest. My analysis is that a well-described, very coherent nine point plan has been produced that is both extremely robust and practical. While no plan is ever full proof the UK Herbs and Spices industry, if they stick to their own guidelines, will be a substantially better place than ever before in terms of deterring fraud in this very vulnerable sector of the food industry.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of those involved in the development of this guideline for taking a major leadership role in further protecting the UK consumer and good name of the UK food industry. While each food sector is different I believe that a template has been produced that can be used by many different areas of the food industry to provide practical guidance to business to protect the UK from food fraud.

Professor Chris Elliott
Author of the Elliott Review on the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply Networks Pro Vice Chancellor, Queen's University, Belfast.

23 July 2015 – Seasoning and Spice Association Position Statement on the survey by Which? magazine on the authenticity of oregano

“The Seasoning and Spice Association (SSA) members take matters of food authenticity very seriously.

To ensure the quality and integrity of products, SSA members have in place a series of fully implemented process controls to protect themselves and ultimately their customers from fraud. These controls are based on well-established good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and sound food safety management systems (FSMS). Furthermore SSA members are committed to purchase all their products from approved suppliers in order to ensure full traceability of their products at all stages of production, processing and distribution. Useful current methodologies to identify the presence of undeclared substances can include microscopy, organoleptic and analytical testing of volatile oil content.

The majority of oregano sold in the UK is authentic, as this survey indicates. That some samples have been found to contain large quantities of bulking substances instead of oregano is unacceptable and undermines the efforts of many suppliers to ensure the integrity of this supply chain.

We are working with the FSA and retailers to ensure that the most up to date knowledge and good manufacturing practices are shared more widely to ensure more companies can identify and manage the risk of food fraud more effectively.”

Version 1 – 23 July 2015

30 June 2015 - SSA's Position Statement on Undeclared Allergens in Cumin and Paprika Products following the FSA News Story on Rescinded Recall.

For further information see SSA's Q&A.

For further information about Product Alerts see Anaphylaxis Campaign website

Food and drink manufacturers rely on their supply chains to ensure consumer choice, affordability, consistent quality of products and continuity of supply. Any supply chain, no matter how simple or complex, can present risks that need to be adequately managed. As the global supply system comes under increasing pressure from population increase, growing demand for limited resources and changing diets, companies also need to be alert to the potential for food fraud and actively work with their customers and suppliers to identify and mitigate the risks of food fraud. FDF's Food Authenticity: Five steps to help protect your business from food fraud available here