WARNING: Your kitchen spices may have deadly salmonella!

Can you imagine cooking without spices? I can't. So much of the flavors that I'm used to in my foods come from spices that are added to the meals. Oh, a world without seasonings and spices, well, it just seems like it would be a flavorless world. Variety may be the spice of life, but I believe that spices add variety and flavor to your foods. It turns out that spices may be adding something else to your food: salmonella. Yes, your kitchen spices may be harboring salmonella.

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The Food and Drug Administration tested more than 20,000 samples of imported spices from 2006 to 2009 and 7 percent of them contained a strain of salmonella. FYI: almost all the spices in the U.S. are imported.

How are the spices getting contaminated? Well, salmonella comes from birds and other animals, so at some point during the drying process animals must be getting access.

The most commonly contaminated spices are coriander, basil, oregano, sesame seeds, pepper, cumin and curry powder. You don't have to eat much to get sick, either. A good way to prevent getting sick is through the actual cooking process. Salmonella is killed at 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Until a method for treating imported spices is implemented to protect the public from salmonella contamination, it appears that the best bet to staying healthy and still being able to season your foods with your favorite spices is to cook your spiced meals until the reach a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

I personally don't want to eat in a world without spices, do you?

Image via Thinkstock

Topics: food safey  cooking  health