Before you read this feature, you may want to scurry to your kitchen and determine the origin of the spices you frequently use for cooking. DirtySpicesIf they were packaged in Mexico or India, you may be getting more than the spice named on the label.

The Food and Drug Administration announced that about 12% of imported spices also contain bug parts, rodent hair, critter droppings – and maybe even salmonella!

No one is saying ALL foreign spices are contaminated. But this report will make us think twice before sprinkling our next meal with a healthy dash of zesty spices.

According to the New York Times, “The agency called spice contamination ‘a systemic challenge’ and said most of the insects found in spices were the kinds that thrive in warehouses and other storage facilities, suggesting that the industry’s problems result not from poor harvesting practices but poor storage and processing.”

We’ve got one word for this report: YUCK!

While finding bits of bugs and rodents in your food is sickening, getting slammed with salmonella can make you sick – or worse.

The WebMD website says: “Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. They develop 12 to 72 hours after infection, and the illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. But diarrhea and dehydration may be so severe that it is necessary to go to the hospital. Older adults, infants, and those who have impaired immune systems are at highest risk.”

The FDA says about one-fourth of the spices, oils and food colorings used in the U.S. comes from India. Some of the most common spices imported from India include turmeric, coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, curry, cinnamon, black cardamom and paprika.

Mexico ships large quantities of Vanilla, chocolate, chilies, adobo seasoning and cilantro.

While Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, stressed that no one is telling consumers to steer clear of imported spices, we think it may be a wiser move to do your country a favor and buy American!

John McGran has an extensive background in online dieting and tabloid news.