A total of 300 samples representing six condiments (black pepper, basil, oregano, nutmeg, paprika, and thyme) were analysed for 11 mycotoxins, 134 pesticides and 4 heavy metals by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem quadrupole mass spectrometry and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Mycotoxins were detected in 4%, 10% and 30% of all nutmeg, basil and thyme samples, respectively. The residues of 24 pesticides were detected in 59% of the analysed condiments. The maximum residue levels of pesticides were exceeded in 10% of oregano and 46% of thyme samples. A risk assessment of heavy metals was performed, indicating daily intake levels far below the tolerable intake levels.
Keywords: HPLC-QqQ-MS/MS; ICP-MS; Spices; herbs; maximum residue limits; mycotoxins; pesticide residues; regression analysis; toxic metals.