In an effort to help to reduce the risk associated with Spices and assist manufacturers that wish to adopt a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach, FSSAI has developed the Guidance document on Food Safety Management System (FSMS) for Spice Processing. This guidance document should be read with the Food Safety and Standard Act 2006, Rules and Regulations; 2011 in force as amended from time to time.
The Establishment Design and Facilities are the same as for all other food establishments and this article contains only the important highlights
- Location and surroundings that are away from the pollution of all kinds from industry and environment, water logging and located outside of residential
- Construction, design, and layout must be such as no contamination is introduced and design must be such as to prevent cross-contamination, exclude moisture from the environment, have effective drainage and facilitate hygienic operations
- Since spice can cause dust there must be adequate means of dust control
- Designated areas for the raw material receipt, finished products dispatch area, separate storage for raw materials, ingredients and packaging material.
- Floors, walls, ceilings, windows, and doors must be easy to clean and fitted for preventing pest and insect entry.
- Equipment and containers should be designed to facilitate cleaning and disinfection with little or no water and when wet cleaning is required, to allow thorough drying. Equipment must have no pits, cracks, corrosion, crevices, recesses, open seams, gaps, lap seams, protruding ledges, inside threads, bolt rivets, or dead ends. Hollow areas of the equipment, as well as cracks and crevices, should be eliminated whenever possible or permanently sealed
- Preventive maintenance program must be documented and verified by a designated person
- The following are some examples of instrumentation that may be required to control factors significant to the process:
- Metal detectors
- Scales and metering devices
- Other specialised instrumentation for the control of factors necessary for food safety
- Facilities and Utilities like lighting, ventilation, water, cleaning, personnel facilities and toilets, storage, the well-equipped laboratory for food testing, drainage and waste disposal, compressed air, and other gas systems, is the same as for other manufacturing establishments
Establishment Control Operations
Appropriate measures should be taken at each step in the food chain to minimize the potential for contamination of spices by microbial pathogens (including mycotoxin-producing moulds), chemical contaminants, excreta, rodent hair, insect fragments, and other foreign materials.
Management of Raw Material/Packaging Material
Selection of Suppliers
Spices should be obtained from approved suppliers and after due process of assessment of the supplier’s ability to meet quality and food safety expectations, requirements and specifications. There must be appropriate control measures like verification and inspection.
- Conduct risk assessment shall be conducted for all the spice suppliers.
- Considered chances of cross-contamination among the spices which are cultivated in lands close to each other. Such Spices and the suppliers shall be considered as having high risk.
- Audit high-risk supplier sites at regular frequencies and ensures they have systems to control cross-contamination.
- Look for any allergic ingredient in the raw material.
Raw Material Receipt
- Do not accept spices if they contain contaminants, undesirable micro-organisms, extraneous matter, which cannot be reduced to an acceptable level by normal sorting and/or processing.
- Contamination with animal or human faecal material, pest damage and with signs of mould growth should be rejected for human consumption.
- Inspected and clean/sort spices prior to processing for foreign matter, odour and appearance, visible mould contamination
- Undertake laboratory tests for moulds or pathogens such as salmonella and if detected should not be used unless they are subjected to an effective microbial reduction treatment. (FSSAI standard for salmonella in spices: Absent/25g)
- Check delivery vehicles prior to, and during, unloading to verify that the quality and safety of the material has been maintained during transit.
- The reception area should be protected from the weather, have sufficient lighting to allow for accurate inspection, and have good pest protection devices. The facility must prevent birds, insects, and another pest from gaining entrance.
- Categorizeincoming material as Accepted, Rejected or Accepted under concession.
- Packing material which comes in direct contact with food shall be of food grade quality and the food grade certificate shall be available.
- Records of incoming materials, as well as their source of procurement, shall be maintained for inspection & traceability.
- Food storage shall be designed and constructed to enable food to be effectively protected from contamination during storage, permit adequate maintenance and effective cleaning.
- Segregated and marked storage of raw, processed, rejected, recalled or returned materials or products which will be distinguishably marked and secured. Raw materials and food shall be stored in separate areas from printed packaging materials, stationery, hardware, and cleaning materials/chemicals.
- Temperature and humidity must be maintained for enhancing the shelf-life of the respective food materials/products.
- Storage of raw materials, ingredients, work-in-progress and processed food products shall be subject to FIFO (First in, First out), FEFO (First Expire, First out) as applicable.
- Use of non-toxic materials for storage of raw materials, work in progress and finished/ready to serve products.
Document food processing operations flow diagram and standard operating procedures including standard operating procedures for process changeover from one kind of product to another
Zoning of the Establishment: Separate the establishment into Low, Medium and High food safety risk zones
Plant traffic flow: establish traffic patterns for movement of personnel and materials according to the one way flow direction, without backtracking, criss-crossing, and with partitioning for separation of operations .e.g. the raw material area to the finished product area, in order to prevent cross-contamination.
Allergen Control & Allergenic material storage: This is accomplished through, but not limited to: ingredient review, labeling, rework, segregation, scheduling, sanitation and training procedures, and documentation. All materials that are allergens (RM/SFG/FG) should be labeled as “Allergen” in bold bright colours and kept separately. The common allergens in spices are cereals containing gluten; i.e., wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt or their hybridized strains and products of these; soybeans and products of these; peanut, tree nuts and nut products; sesame; celery & mustard.
Hygiene control in Specific Process steps
- Use Mechanical Drying to prepare spices with raw materials Raw material used for the preparation of spices. Drying time should be reduced as much as possible by using optimal drying conditions to avoid fungal growth and toxin production.
- To prevent the growth of microorganisms, especially mycotoxin producing mould, a safe moisture level should be achieved as rapidly as possible and Mechanical drying methods should be used instead of natural drying (open) air drying, where possible.
Moisture limits for some of the dried whole spices after drying are mentioned in the table below
Name of the spice Maximum Moisture limit, % w/w
Cassia whole 12.0
Cloves whole 12.0
Coriander whole 9.0
Cumin whole 10.0
Cumin black (Kalonji) whole 10.0
Fennel whole 12.0
Fenugreek whole 10.0
Ginger whole 12.0
Mace whole 10.0
Mustard whole 10.0
Nutmeg whole 10.0
Black pepper whole 13.0
Turmeric whole 12.0
Aniseed whole 12.0
Ajowan (Ajwain) 11.0
Celery whole 10.0
Caraway (Siahjira) whole 12.0
Cardamom whole 13.0
Large Cardamom whole 12.0
Chillies and Capsicums whole 11.0
Cleaning: Spices should be cleaned properly to remove physical hazards like plant debris, metal, and other foreign material through manual sorting or use of equipment such as destoner, gravity separator, sieve metal detectors etc.
Microbial Reduction Treatments: When necessary to reduce risk, spices should be treated with a validated microbial reduction treatment prior to reaching the consumer in order to inactivate pathogens such as Salmonella. Commonly used methods involve the application of steam, fumigation (ETO) and Irradiation.
Factors that should be controlled when using:
- Fumigation Treatments: Chemical concentration, exposure time, Vacuum and /or pressure, density of the product and gas permeability of the packaging material.
- Steam: Exposure time and temperature.
- Irradiation: Radiation dose and the size and shape of the package, as well as the penetrability of the packaging material to the type of radiation of radiation used.
- Food processing daily process critical parameters like temperature/vacuum etc. records shall be maintained with appropriate coding for traceability.
- Intermediate in-process samples should be taken and tested for critical parameters and test results records should be maintained.
- Raw products that may present a potential hazard should be processed in separate rooms, or in areas physically separate from those where end-products are being prepared.
- Spices that have undergone a microbial reduction treatment should be processed and stored separately from untreated spices
- Equipment should not be used for both treated and untreated products without adequate cleaning and disinfection before use with treated products.
Physical and Chemical contamination
- Appropriate machines should be used to remove physical hazards such as pebbles or heavier stones to separate foreign matter from the product, air tables or gravity separators can be used for particles of the same size and different density. Sieves of different diameters may also be used.
- Regardless of the type of separator used, the following parameters should be considered: size of particles, density, weight and size, airspeed, inclination of the sieve plate, vibration, etc. for the highest effectiveness of the procedure. Metal detectors/Magnets should be used to detect and separate ferrous from non-ferrous/metallic matter. Spices should be arranged in a fine layer to facilitate the said operation.
Spices Packaging and Warehousing
Packaging & Labelling
- Spices e.g. dried chili peppers, should not be sprayed with water as it may result in the growth of moulds and microbial pathogens if present.
- Bags with food grade liners should be used to protect the spices from Moisture, contamination, infestation of insects and rodents.
- It is recommended that new bags or containers be used for food contact packaging. If reusable containers are used, they should be properly cleaned and disinfected before use. Particular attention paid to the potential for loose bags fibres that can become potential contaminants.
- Secondary containment bags/containers providing additional protection can be reused but should not have been previously used to hold non-food materials such as chemicals or animal feed.
- Only packaging materials required for immediate use are kept in the packaging or filling area.
Control of labeling is important to ensure that the correct label is applied to each product. Use of incorrect labels could mislead the consumer and could pose a potential health hazard to segments of the population with allergies. The manufacturer should have procedures in place to ensure that the correct label is applied to the correct product. Typical controls are listed below.
- Product types are effectively separated during changeovers (e.g. appropriate breaks between products, visual inspection to ensure products are not mixed prior to labeling).
- Different product labels or pre-labeled packaging should be effectively separated, and the number of product label types should be kept to a minimum.
- During storage, care is to be taken to prevent mixing of individual labels or bundles of labels (e.g. labels are stored in separate boxes, no labels are loose and unused labels are returned to the correct boxes).
- Procedures should be in place to ensure the product being supplied or added to the labeling operation corresponds to the labels in use (e.g. on-line checks to ensure that products are correctly labeled).
Minimum Mandatory labeling of pre-packaged foods must have the following details
- Name of the product
- Net weight
- Name and address (manufacturer, packer, distributor, importer, exporter or vendor)
- Batch number
- Date manufacturing /packing
- Best before use date
- Veg /non-Veg Logo
- FSSAI registration number
- Ingredient declaration
- Nutritional value
Note: For details please refer FSS (Packaging &Labelling) Regulations, 2011 and amendment thereunder.
- The warehouses should be kept clean, ventilated and under hygienic condition to avoid pest infestation, dirt, dust, smells.
- Finished products shall be kept at appropriate height to avoid damages at bottom boxes.
Rework & Control of Non-Conforming Products
- Handling of Rework/Add-back –to be done in such a way to avoid cross-contamination during processing, handling, and storage.
- Rework shall be clearly identified and/or labeled to allow traceability.
- Traceability records for rework shall be maintained.
- All rework should be certified by the QA department before reincorporating.
- There work classification or the reason for rework designation shall be recorded (e.g. product name, production date, shift, line of origin, shelf-life).
- Segregation requirements for rework shall be documented and met.
Control on Non – Conformance products
The organization shall establish and maintain documented procedures that specify appropriate actions to identify and eliminate the cause of detected nonconformities, to prevent recurrence, and to bring the process or system back into control after non-conformity is encountered. These actions include:
- Reviewing non-conformities (including customer complaints),
- Reviewing trends in monitoring results that may indicate development towards loss of control,
- Determining the cause(s)of nonconformities,
- Evaluating the need for action to ensure that nonconformities do not recur,
- Determining and implementing the actions needed,
- Recording the results of corrective actions taken,
- Reviewing corrective actions taken to ensure that they are effective.
- Corrective actions shall be recorded.
Food Transportation and Distribution
- Vehicles of only FSSAI registered transporters shall be used for transportation.
- The dispatches of finished goods must follow FIFO or FEFO (First Expiry First Out) system.
- Conveyances and/or containers used for transporting shall be kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition to protect from contamination and shall be designed and constructed to permit adequate cleaning and/or disinfection. Where direct contact with food may occur, materials used in carrier construction should be suitable for food.
- All vehicles shall be properly covered with the tarpaulin or closed container.
- Finished product boxes are kept at the prescribed maximum height to avoid damages.
- Care should be taken to prevent condensation when unloading spices from a refrigerated vehicle or while taking out of a cold storage.
- In warm, humid weather, the products should be allowed to reach ambient temperature before exposure to external conditions. Spices that have been spilled are vulnerable to contamination and should not be used as food.
Food Traceability and Recall
- A recall may be initiated after the initial investigation of reported incident at manufacturing unit or complaints/received from consumers or customers or any other sources.
- A system/written procedure shall be in place to enable the recall of any lot of product and provide detailed information to assist in the investigation of any identified produce contamination.
- Traceability system shall be in place to identify production lots in relation to batches of raw materials, packaging materials, processing, packaging, and delivery. All records are to be maintained.
Note: In some instances, the establishment may initiate a voluntary recall of a product because of the use of a raw ingredient or packaging material which has been determined to be unsafe. By linking raw ingredient lot codes to the finished product code, your establishment will be able to identify which of your finished products need to be recalled
- The FBO shall have a quality control programme in place to include inspection and testing of incoming spices/food additives/in process and finished products.
- All incoming raw materials/packaging materials/Food additives/Ingredients test records or Certificate of Analysis (COA) shall be maintained. Adulteration tests defined under FSS regulations should be performed with each lot. Testing shall be done as per the approved method. The list of the type of adulteration in spices is annexed.
- In-process and finished product samples should be tested and records should be maintained. Finished goods shall be tested annually for contaminants as laid down in FSS regulations 2011 & amendment thereunder from FSSAI approved labs. It is recommended to retain the control samples in a separate area, till the end of shelf life. Further, it should be disposed off. Testing records shall be maintained. Refer to the approved laboratory list by FSSAI.
- An In-house laboratory facility with trained and competent testing personnel should be available for food testing. If there is no in-house laboratory present, then all the regular testing shall be done through a laboratory notified by FSSAI.
- If pathogen testing is conducted in-house, the microbiology laboratory shall not open directly into the process area. The tested sample and remnant should be autoclaved before disposing off. Calibration of laboratory equipment shall be done periodically.
Establishment–Maintenance& Sanitation (this is the same as for other establishments)
Tools and equipment’s like scrubbers, brushes, plastic brooms, vacuum cleaners etc. should be of hygienically designed and robust, so that they pose no threat to food safety of the product. Further, they should be dedicated to specific areas.
Cleaning and sanitation program
A cleaning and sanitation program must be drawn up and it will indicate the specific areas to be cleaned up. The cleaning and disinfectant schedule must also mention if it is to be wet or dry.
Advisable to have a colour coding system for different areas
Red for sanitary fittings and washroom floors
Blue for general low-risk areas
Green for General food and bar use
Yellow for wash basins and washroom surfaces
Dry cleaning is the preferred method of cleaning establishments that handle spices.
Verification of effectiveness
- Visual inspection
- Analytical methods like: Swabbing using conventional microbiological swab or rapid method based on ATP Bioluminescence Technology.
- Cleaning record shall be maintained for the same period as manufacturing records.
The following are the same as for other establishments
- Pest Control Systems
- Waste Disposal Management
- Establishments and personal hygiene includes health status and illness injury, protective clothing and work wear, personal cleanliness, personal behaviour, and visitor control.
- Establishment–Product Information and Consumer Awareness
- Consumer awareness and Complaint handling
- Audit, Documentation and Record Keeping
Establishment–Training and Management
Awareness and Responsibilities
- The Food Business shall ensure that all food handlers are aware of their role and responsibility in protecting food from contamination or deterioration.
- Food handlers shall have the necessary knowledge and skills which are relevant to food processing/manufacturing, packaging, storage, and distribution.
- The Food Business shall ensure that all the food handlers are instructed and trained in food hygiene and food safety aspects along with personal hygiene requirements commensurate with their work activities, the nature of food, its handling, processing, packaging, storage, and distribution.
- FSSAI has provided an easy solution for training and certification through its new initiatives of Food Safety Training and Certification (FoSTAC) portal. FSSAI recommends that all licensed food businesses must have at least one trained and certified Food Safety Supervisor under FoSTaC for every 25 food handlers in each premise.
- All food handlers (permanent or contractual) are to be assessed for existing competence/awareness/ skills/knowledge. All personnel responsible for monitoring, corrections and corrective actions of the food safety management system are trained.
- Training program should be developed with the training calendar. Such training shall also include personnel who enter areas on a temporary basis (e.g. maintenance workers, contractors). Systems should be in place for assessing the effectiveness of training. Records of training shall be maintained.
- Refresher training programs to be reviewed and updated.
|S. No||Spices Adulteration||Type of Adulterants in Spices|
|1.||Mustard||Addition of Argemone seed|
|2.||Black pepper (whole & powder||Mixing of Papaya seeds, light berries and may even add filler such as sawdust.|
|3.||Spices ground||Added starch, Powdered bran and sawdust.|
|4.||Turmeric powder||Coloured saw dust, Lead chromate, Metanil Yellow, Chalk powder or yellow soapstone powder.|
|5.||Chillies powder||Brick powder, salt powder or talc, powder, Artificial colours and dyes, Water soluble coal-tar colour, grit, sand, dirt, filth.|
|6.||Asafoetida (Hing)||Soap stone or other earthy material, Starch, Foreign resin.|
|7.||Coriander powder||Cow dung powder, Common salt, and sawdust|
|8.||Oregano||addition of other similar herbs and plant leaves|
(whole & powder)
|Cumin seeds are mixed with Grass seeds coloured with charcoal dust, powder can be mixed with sawdust|
|10.||Salt||can be mixed with talc and other impurities|
|11.||Saffron||Can be made of coloured gelatine strands or stretched with dyed maize filaments (corn silk)|
|13.||Cloves||Can be mixed with exhausted cloves|
FSSAI has also advised Spice manufacturers to have in place a HACCP system as it is essential to carry out to identify the weakness of the production line and to suggest critical limits in compliance with legislation and therefore the preventive and corrective measures.
During the implementation of HACCP, it is imperative to set controls at each point of the production line at which safety problems (physical, chemical and microbiological) are likely to occur. A HACCP plan is required to be in place before initiating the HACCP system. HACCP is a system which identifies specific hazard(s) (i.e. any biological, chemical, or physical property that adversely affects the safety of the food) and specifies measures for their control. A HACCP Plan consists of 5 initial steps and 7major HACCP principles.
The Five Steps and Seven Principles to HACCP
STEP 1 Assemble HACCP Team
STEP 2 Describe the Product
STEP 3 Document Intended Use of Product
STEP 4 Construct process Flow Chart
STEP 5 Onsite Confirmation of Flow Diagram
Principle 1 Conduct a Hazard Analysis
Principle 2 Identify Critical Control Points
Principle 3 Establish Critical Limits
Principle 4 Establish Monitoring Procedures
Principle 5 Establish Corrective Actions
Principle 6 Establish Verification Procedures
Principle 7 Record Keeping Procedure