Spices and herbs have been used since ancient times as flavor and aroma enhancers, colorants, preservatives, and traditional medicines. There are more than 30 spices and herbs of global economic and culinary importance. Among the spices, black pepper, capsicums, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, saffron, coriander, cloves, dill, mint, thyme, sesame seed, mustard seed, and curry powder are the most popular spices worldwide. In addition to their culinary uses, a number of functional properties of aromatic herbs and spices are also well described in the scientific literature. However, spices and herbs cultivated mainly in tropic and subtropic areas can be exposed to contamination with toxigenic fungi and subsequently mycotoxins. This review provides an overview on the mycotoxin risk in widely consumed spices and aromatic herbs.
Keywords: Spice; aflatoxins; herbs; mycotoxins; ochratoxin A.