Organic and non-GMO products have really taken over mainstream market trends.
Last year, American spice giant McCormick announced that 80% of its herbs and spices sold in the US will be organic and non-GMO by September 2016. (1)
This mean that their products will no longer contain worrisome genetically engineered seeds or traces of cancerous herbicides and pesticides.
The news is no surprise as more and more companies participate in the non-GMO food boom.
Currently, less than 25% of the spices, herbs and blends advertised on their website are fully organic, but the company insists that most of their products sold in the United States are non-GMO, they simply haven’t yet been certified or labeled as such (2).
Additionally, over 70% of their broths, extracts and other products will be certified non-GMO (3).
Their first new product since the announcement, non-GMO Vanilla extract, is already available in most supermarkets in the country.
The FDA recommends that spices be irradiated by x-ray, gamma ray or electron beam to sanitize them. This process is meant to prevent foodborne illnesses, destroy insects and extend their shelf life.
The process isn’t perfect, and contamination can occur during improper handling, storage and usage of these products (4).
Although health enthusiasts have voiced concerns over the process, the FDA claims that the slight compromises in radiation levels, nutritional quality, or taste, texture, or appearance of food are hardly noticeable when compared to non-irradiated foods.
Despite a large amount of commercial spices being irradiated today, McCormick & Co. is one major seller of retail spices that does not use irradiation on any of its consumer products. (5)
According to a 2010 article in CIDRAP, Laurie Harrsen, a company spokeswoman said that McCormick’s uses steam sterilization and has no plans of irradiation.
Even though this news is a true victory for the clean-eating community, it’s still important to read the labels on Mc Cormick products, particularly spice blends, which can contain corn maltodextrin, calcium silicate, silicon dioxide and artificial flavoring (6).