McCormick & Co. Inc. said today none of its cumin products are involved in recent cases of peanut contamination.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued several warnings from various manufacturers since late December about cumin products being recalled or companies issuing alerts because of products containing undeclared peanut proteins.
"Due to the FDA consumer advisory and increased attention surrounding peanut contamination of cumin in the marketplace, we want to assure the public that no McCormick products are involved," Roger Lawrence, McCormick's corporate vice president of global quality assurance, said in a statement Thursday. "This includes all ground cumin, cumin seed, and seasonings that contain cumin like Taco Seasoning Mix and Chili Powder."
The FDA is advising people who are highly allergic to peanuts to avoid products containing ground cumin or cumin powder because some shipments have been found to contain undeclared peanut protein.
"People who are highly allergic or sensitive to peanuts may be at risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction," said the FDA advisory, issued last week.
Ground cumin can be sold as a spice or in a spice mix or kit or as a minor ingredient in soups chilies and other finished food products. However finished products likely contain low amounts of ground cumin and therefore low amounts of peanut protein, the FDA said. Products made before last year are unlikely to contain the contaminated ground cumin.
McCormick said it buys whole cumin seed instead of ground product to reduce the chance of contamination by nut shells and does not handle any peanut materials in plants where cumin seeds are cleaned and ground.
"We inspect every lot for extraneous matter, representing several million ingredient and product analyses each year," Lawrence said. "In addition, our spices are treated through a steaming process."