We often receive enquiries from customers with respect to allergens that may be in various herbs and spices. The most common requests are with respect to nuts, gluten, organic and low sodium.
At Herbie’s Spices we maintain a strict regime of quarantining our nut products (hazelnuts and pistachio nuts) and sesame seeds, so they do not come into contact with other spices. We also thoroughly clean equipment after the nut products and sesame seeds have been packed. We have no peanuts on the premises.
We also operate an audited food safety management system called HACCP, and have obtained additional data from our suppliers as to the allergen status of the materials we purchase from them. Some of the sources of spices are relatively primitive by our standards, making absolute guarantees difficult. For this reason, if we are at all unsure about the chances of cross contamination with other crops, some of our products may bear the statement “May contain traces of nuts due to agricultural practices”.
While the easy way out for our business would be to put the “has been packed on the same equipment that is used for nut products” or “may contain traces of nuts and sesame seeds” on all our labels, we do not believe this is the responsible approach, as it limits consumer’s options to an unreasonable degree.
The situation with respect to gluten is similar. Gluten (in the form of wheat starch) is not added to most spices. If it is, it will be clearly stated within the ingredient listing on the label, However, in some instances we cannot guarantee that products don’t contain traces of gluten, due to cross contamination during harvesting, transportation or processing.
Therefore, you will see that some of our labels may carry the statement “May contain traces of gluten due to agricultural practices”.
Being organic is no guarantee of quality if post-harvest processes are not stringent. Although some Herbie’s Spices have been grown organically, we do not place organic statements on the label, as we chose not to pay the fees for organic certification. Spices are also consumed in relatively small amounts, 20g or less in a meal,
making their organic status far less significant than when one consumes whole vegetables, a chicken or a steak.
Should you have any questions with respect to allergens in spices, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Although we have not developed specific low sodium recipes, we do have a large number of Spice Blends that have no added salt. A great way to start is to follow this link for a complete list: http://www.herbies.com.au/product-category/herbs-and-spices/salt-free-blends/
Every pack has a suggestion for use and/or a recipe, so making dishes with minimal sodium should be easy.
Just keep in mind that there are no herbs or spices that could really be called salt substitutes. The secret is in making the meal so tasty that salt becomes less necessary, and after a while you don’t crave that salty hit. Ras el Hanout rubbed on a piece of chicken or fish will make salt redundant, as will a sprinkle of Baharat on a steak before grilling or barbecuing.