By AMY LOEFFLER
Virginia Tech News
BLACKSBURG – Home cooks and professional chefs alike the world over can thank Monica Ponder, assistant professor of food science and technology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, for a safer supply of spices.
Spices are typically grown in developing countries where opportunities for tainting the product from infected workers and pests are increased due to poorer sanitation practices, leaving the product open to contamination from birds and others animals, even the farmers themselves. There is minimal processing of spices after harvest that would otherwise result in destruction of human pathogens. This presents a contamination risk for the food industry from pathogens such as Salmonella because spices are frequently added to finished products.
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