We are presenting here information related to Organic Food Industry that will be useful to buyers.
What is the difference between spice and herb ?
Spices are derived from aromatic plants’ bark, roots, seeds, buds and fruits. They include for example: pepper, capsicums (chilies and cayenne pepper), coriander, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mace, caraway, cumin, turmeric, cloves, cardamom, fennel, mustard, cardamom, fenugreek, vanilla.
Herbs are typically derived from aromatic plants’ leafy parts. They include for example: lemon, verbena, dill, water mint, lemongrass, orange leaves, camomile, lemon balm, peppermint, borage, basil, celery, oregano, parsely, rosemary, thyme, caraway.
What are the organic labeling categories ?
100% organic: This means just what it says
Organic: 95% of ingredients must be certified organic.
Made with organic ingredients: 70% of ingredients are certified organic.
Less than 70% organic: organic ingredients can be listed on side panel only. (visit www.ams.usda.gov/nop to learn more)What does organic mean?
The USDA ensures consumers that their organic food has not been processed or grown using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. It also means the food could not have been produced using genetic engineering, growth hormones, irradiation or antibiotics. Farms growing under the USDA label must maintain strict records of their farm's activities and are subject to regular and surprise inspections. Farms must have been free of most chemicals for three years before being certified, and must undergo many soil tests (pesticide residue, heavy metal etc.). Also, crops must be rotated, meaning the same crop is not grown on the same plot of land year after year. Please visit the National Organic Program for more information.
US food and fiber products labeled organic are regulated by USDA's National Organic Program. Key components of the organic regulations are:
The use of toxic and synthetic pesticides and herbicides is prohibited;
Genetically modified crops and ingredients are prohibited;
Irradiation of foods is prohibited;
Use of processed sewage sludges, known as biosolids, on crops is prohibited;
Land must be free of chemical applications for at least three years;
Growers must have detailed farm system plans;
Products sold as organic must be certified by an independent, third party USDA accredited certifier like CCOF (www.ccof.org);
Do retailers require organic certifications ?
Retailers aren't required to undergo certification before selling organic products. Some states have their own organic certification departments, generally run through the state department of agriculture. In all states, retailers have the option of working with a recognized organic certification agency.
What is steam sterilization ?. Why do I need it ?
Lot of people ask us, why steam sterilized products cost more ?.
We have put together our process and its implication on the quality of our product. For example, we do the following process to provide the best black pepper in the world !
Process: The cleaned pepper is collected in a bin. The sterilization bin is then sterilized using steam generated by a boiler in empty condition. After this, the cleaned pepper is collected in the bin is transferred to the steam sterilization unit. The temprature and time of processing depends on the microbiological load in the raw material. The temprature generally ranges from 100 to 120 degree centegrade and time varies from 2 minutes to 10 minutes. After steam sterilization, pepper is transferred to a drier for drying.
Benefits: The staem sterilization process is carried out to reduce/eliminate the micro organisms in the material. Our sterilization process is done in such a way that the desired level is attained without affecting the intrinsic qualities
of the material. For a better understanding, we show a sample of our results of microbiological analysis of pepper before and after steam sterilization.
Parameters Before sterilization After sterilization
Total Plate Count (cfu/gm) 4400,000 17,000
E.Coli (MPN/gm) 1100 NIL
Coliforms (MPN/gm) 11000 NIL
Bacillus cereus (Org/gm) <10 <10
Staphylococcus aureus (org/gm) <10 <10
Salmonella (in 25 gm) Absent Absent
Yeast and Mould (cfu/gm) 1200 ~ 10
Do I need Kosher certificate for my business ?
Kosher certificate for ingredients is not generally required if products are whole (WHL), tea bag cut (TBC) and cut & sifted (C&F). If you have any doubts, please check with your kosher certifier. A retailer does not require a Organic certificate or kosher certificate in order to sell the products at their location.
Why do we need organic spices and herbs ?
As with any plant, spices in the field can be tainted by any number of contaminants: insects, molds, yeasts, even pathogens, like salmonella or E.coli, the virulent bacteria linked to scores of outbreaks of foodborne illness. To combat these, most conventional food manufacturers in the United States sterilize spices with toxic chemicals. The most common is ethylene oxide, a gas that can leave residues on spices that may be harmful to human health and cause cancer in workers who have prolonged exposure to it. The chemical has been banned in many European countries and Japan.
Organic spices and herbs are grown without any chemical fertilizer.Conventional producers have also turned increasingly to irradiation. First approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use on spices in 1983, irradiation exposes spices to up to a million rads of ionizing radiation -- the equivalent of one billion chest X-rays (the highest amounts allowed for any food). This process kills contaminants without appreciably altering the appearance and taste of the food. We don't use any irradiation on our products.
What are different Chili types?
Red chili peppers have diffeent heat value and color. Heat in chili is measured by SHU unit. Here are some chilies:
- Ancho - Low heat, 1000-1500 SHU
- Pasilla- Low heat, 1000-1500 SHU
- Chipotle Morita - High heat, 9999-49,000 SHU
- DE Arbal - High heat - 15000-30,000 SHU
- California - Heat low - 1000-10,000 SHU
- Brown Chipotle - Heat hot- 7000-18000 SHU
- Cayenne Pepper - Heat hot - 30,000- 40,000 SHU
- Bird'd eye chili - Very Hot- 1,000000 SHU
What are major food Allergens ?
While more than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies, the law identifies the eight most common allergenic foods. These foods account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions, and are the food sources from which many other ingredients are derived. These eight foods, and any ingredient that contains protein derived from one or more of them, are designated as "major food allergens" by the law.
The eight food allergens identified by the law are:
- Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
- Crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
- Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
How Major Food Allergens Are Listed: The law requires that food labels identify the food source of all major food allergens. Unless the food source of a major food allergen is part of the ingredient's common or usual name (or is already identified in the ingredient list), it must be included in one of two ways. The name of the food source of a major food allergen must appear: In parentheses following the name of the ingredient. Examples: "lecithin (soy)," "flour (wheat)," and "whey (milk)" or Immediately after or next to the list of ingredients in a "contains" statement. Example: "Contains Wheat, Milk, and Soy." source : http://www.fda.gov . Know the Symptoms: Symptoms of food allergies typically appear from within a few minutes to two hours after a person has eaten the food to which he or she is allergic. Allergic reactions can include:
- Flushed skin or rash
- Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth
- Face, tongue, or lip swelling
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Abdominal cramps
- Coughing or wheezing
- Dizziness and/or lightheadedness
- Swelling of the throat and vocal cords
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
What is Aflatoxin ? In the United States, aflatoxins have been identified in corn and corn products, peanuts and peanut products, cottonseed, milk, and tree nuts such as Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachio nuts, and walnuts. Other grains and nuts are susceptible but less prone to contamination. Please read the link from FDA (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap41.html)
What is Salmonella spp ? Salmonella is a rod-shaped, motile bacterium -- nonmotile exceptions S. gallinarum and S. pullorum--, nonsporeforming and Gram-negative. There is a widespread occurrence in animals, especially in poultry and swine. Environmental sources of the organism include water, soil, insects, factory surfaces, kitchen surfaces, animal feces, raw meats, raw poultry, and raw seafoods, to name only a few.
Raw meats, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products, fish, shrimp, frog legs, yeast, coconut, sauces and salad dressing, cake mixes, cream-filled desserts and toppings, dried gelatin, peanut butter, cocoa, and chocolate have been identified to carry this bacteria. Various Salmonella species have long been isolated from the outside of egg shells. The present situation with S. enteritidis is complicated by the presence of the organism inside the egg, in the yolk. This and other information strongly suggest vertical transmission, i.e., deposition of the organism in the yolk by an infected layer hen prior to shell deposition. Foods other than eggs have also caused outbreaks of S. enteritidis disease. For more information, please visit the FDA site (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap1.html)
What is Bacillus cereus ? A wide variety of foods including meats, milk, vegetables, and fish have been associated with the diarrheal type food poisoning. The vomiting-type outbreaks have generally been associated with rice products; however, other starchy foods such as potato, pasta and cheese products have also been implicated. Food mixtures such as sauces, puddings, soups, casseroles, pastries, and salads have frequently been incriminated in food poisoning outbreaks.
For more information, please visit the FDA site (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap12.html)
What is Staphylococcus aureus ? Foods that are frequently incriminated in staphylococcal food poisoning include meat and meat products; poultry and egg products; salads such as egg, tuna, chicken, potato, and macaroni; bakery products such as cream-filled pastries, cream pies, and chocolate eclairs; sandwich fillings; and milk and dairy products. Foods that require considerable handling during preparation and that are kept at slightly elevated temperatures after preparation are frequently involved in staphylococcal food poisoning. Staphylococci exist in air, dust, sewage, water, milk, and food or on food equipment, environmental surfaces, humans, and animals. Humans and animals are the primary reservoirs. Staphylococci are present in the nasal passages and throats and on the hair and skin of 50 percent or more of healthy individuals. This incidence is even higher for those who associate with or who come in contact with sick individuals and hospital environments. Although food handlers are usually the main source of food contamination in food poisoning outbreaks, equipment and environmental surfaces can also be sources of contamination with S. aureus. Human intoxication is caused by ingesting enterotoxins produced in food by some strains of S. aureus, usually because the food has not been kept hot enough (60°C, 140°F, or above) or cold enough (7.2°C, 45°F, or below). For more information, please visit the FDA link (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap3.html)
What is E. Coli ? Currently, there are four recognized classes of enterovirulent E. coli (collectively referred to as the EEC group) that cause gastroenteritis in humans. Among these is the enterohemorrhagic (EHEC) strain designated E. coli O157:H7. E. coli is a normal inhabitant of the intestines of all animals, including humans. When aerobic culture methods are used, E. coli is the dominant species found in feces. Normally E. coli serves a useful function in the body by suppressing the growth of harmful bacterial species and by synthesizing appreciable amounts of vitamins. A minority of E. coli strains are capable of causing human illness by several different mechanisms. E. coli serotype O157:H7 is a rare variety of E. coli that produces large quantities of one or more related, potent toxins that cause severe damage to the lining of the intestine. Undercooked or raw hamburger (ground beef) has been implicated in many of the documented outbreaks, however E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks have implicated alfalfa sprouts, unpasteurized fruit juices, dry-cured salami, lettuce, game meat, and cheese curds. Raw milk was the vehicle in a school outbreak in Canada. Among these are the enteropathogenic (EPEC) strains. EPEC are defined as E. coli belonging to serogroups epidemiologically implicated as pathogens but whose virulence mechanism is unrelated to the excretion of typical E. coli enterotoxins. E. coli are Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria belonging the family Enterobacteriaceae. Source(s) and prevalence of EPEC are controversial because foodborne outbreaks are sporadic. Humans, bovines, and swine can be infected, and the latter often serve as common experimental animal models. E. coli are present in the normal gut flora of these mammals. Common foods implicated in EPEC outbreaks are raw beef and chicken, although any food exposed to fecal contamination is strongly suspect.EPEC outbreaks most often affect infants, especially those that are bottle fed, suggesting that contaminated water is often used to rehydrate infant formulae in underdeveloped countries. For more information, please visit FDA site ( http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap14.html )