Previous WSC's

About 2000 World Spice Congress


The World Spice Congress, 5th in the series was held during 27 - 29 January 2000 at Hotel Oberoi Towers, Mumbai, jointly by the spices Board and the All India Spices Exporters Forum. The earlier Congresses were held at Bangalore in 1990, at Goa in 1992, at Cochin in 1995 and at Chennai in 1998. The theme of the Congress was SPICES TO FOOD NEW TRENDS, NEW DIMENSIONS. 150 International delegates attended the Congress from countries and Indian delegates.
Inaugural function
The 5th World Spice Congress was inaugurated by Mr. P.S. Bhatnagar, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing, Government of India on 27th January, 2000. In his inaugural address, Mr. Bhatnagar emphasised the relevance of the theme in the context of tremendous growth potential of food processing sector. This Congress projects the changes that are taking place in this sector addressing the common issues of spice growers, traders, processors, exporters, importers and consumers all over the world. Globalisation of the trade has expanded the market of spices enriching the quality of life.
This Congress is thematically different, but keeps its continuity. The shift in theme from last congress i.e. from 'New Horizons Challenges Ahead' to 'Spices to Food' shows that we are in line with the changing needs of the industry. Now the focus is on consumer expectations and consumer safety.

There is a growing demand for organic spices, if the producing countries can conform to the stringent regulations in its production and processing.
The sanitary and phytosanitary regulations are becoming more and more stringent in food sector and we have to conform to this and all producing countries should gear up to meet these specifications. The spice industry should take note of and imbibe the recent technological developments to ensure food safety through quality. The initiative taken by Spices Board in these areas is a welcome move.
Spices Board has taken the right steps in focussing on organic spice production and potential of the North Eastern region has been well recognised.
During the function, Mr. S.M. Acharya, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India released the first set of three CD-ROMs covering the various facets of Indian spice industry and the activities of Spices Board by handing the same over to Mr. Bhatnagar. While the first CD-ROM is a compendium on five spices, viz., Pepper, Ginger, Turmeric, Garlic and Fenugreek, detailing their nutritional, medicinal and nutraceutical properties, the second contains a catalogue of Indian spices and the third depicts the activities of Spices Board. In his felicitation speech, Mr. Acharya, pointed out that World Spice Congress has become truly a global event. The focus now is on consumer's expectations as against the earlier emphasis on production and productivity. He hoped that the deliberations in the Congress would help in adding new dimensions to the spice industry. He stressed the role of Spices Board in promoting organic spices.
Mr. V. Jayashankar, Chairman, Spices Board, welcomed the gathering. In his welcome address, he briefly traced the evolution of the World Spice Congress.
Mr. Sanjay Mariwala, Chairman, All India Spices Exporters Forum, Cochin, proposed the vote of thanks.

Business Session
The business session was started immediately after the inaugural function on 27th and continued on 28th and 29th January 2000. The theme of the Congress was discussed in three sessions, viz., Crops and Markets, Spices and Food and Competencies and Capabilities. There were five papers in the first session held on 27th, four papers in the second on 28th and five papers in the third on 29th presented by experts in the respective fields.
Plenary Session
The Plenary session was presided over by Mr. V. Jayashankar, Chairman, Spices Board. The various points put forth by the speakers and deliberated upon in the business session were discussed. It was emphasised that the producing and consuming countries should work together to ensure food safety and consumer safety through quality.
A colourful exhibition displaying a wide range of spices and spice products of India was organised with the participation of major exporters, R & D institutions. There were participants including Spices Board. The scientific and technological advances of spice industry and the wealth of spices were on display. The exhibition was well received by the delegates and visitors.
A lucky draw was held from among the delegates, who visited the exhibition and prizes awarded.
Cultural programmes and sight seeing
A programme highlighting the cultural heritage of India with special reference to Western India was organised on the evening of 27th January.
The spouses of the delegates went on a city tour on 27th and 28th afternoon. On 29th afternoon, a trip to Elephanta Caves was organised for the delegates and spouses.
The delegates were taken on to BRIT for a demonstration of the irradiation facility for spices developed by them.

Summary of Presentations & Discussions


 How pepper could be used in new products? How can pepper be used in cookies/cakes and sauces.

Mary Jane Edleson

In Malaysia pepper is used for producing pepper candies, pepper biscuits, pepper cookies and even for pepper perfume. I presume that this area may not consume large quantity of pepper but it is an area where making some publicity can make some improvement or increase.

KPG Menon

 Mr Menon made a very important reference to medicinal use of pepper. Some more light on this. Because the only way to absorb the continuously increasing production is more new uses. Per-capita consumption as food ingredient cannot take care of the increased production

Pankaj Sampat

The Compendium released by Spices Board contains information on the medicinal properties and medicinal uses of pepper. IPC has published a small booklet on 'Grandma remedies with pepper' and we have other reference books also. Considering the importance of the medicinal properties of pepper, IPC has decided to take part in the next 'Health Ingredient' in Frankfurt during November. Exporters wish to participate are welcome to the IPC stall.

KPG Menon

 Singapore, without native pepper cultivation, emerged as an important transit market for pepper exports to many European countries. Is analysis available about the strategies adopted by Singapore to emerge as an important pepper forwarding country in the world; preferably economic analysis? Can India not replicate these strategies and get the benefit of direct marketing of pepper in the years to come.

Dr T S Narayana

India is exporting not even 1% of its pepper to Singapore. Singapore is importing from other countries like Malaysia and re-exporting pepper. India can also definitely be an importer and re-exporter of pepper.
KPG Menon

 Any projection on the Arab markets i.e., Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries

Abdul Hadi Basarat

Saudi Arabia is an important market in gulf for pepper. Gulf countries are developing markets for spices. The statistical yearbook published by IPC will give more details.

KPG Menon


You indicated that Indian black pepper is superior from a food safety standpoint. Please elaborate.

Roger Lawrence

In India about a dozen units have ISO certification. About 50 units have the Spice House Certification from the Spices Board, which also certify good manufacturing practices of the units. Most of the processing units have their own laboratories to test the quality and if I am correct, among the three major exporting countries, India is the only country where there is no compulsory quality control for pepper. The Indian exporters are careful in processing - producers in other countries really want to see the Indian units and get educated. At present India and Malaysia are much ahead in supplying clean quality spices. These countries with the efforts put forth, will be able to give clean pepper, as per ASTA specifications. Some of the units are even now able to supply organically produced pepper. I am reiterating that at present Indian pepper industry is more capable in supplying quality produce.
KPG Menon

Are you able to give an indication on expected production of organic pepper in India? Will this area of production be falling under the aegis of IPC? Are there already structures in place to assure and maintain the quality requirements?

M Plantenga

According to the information available with the IPC, in India there are specific areas where organic cultivation of pepper is going on and some of the producing agencies have got proper certification also. Some of the producers are having ready stock of certified organic spices, particularly pepper. IPC is in touch with some of the international agencies and processing units to know whether IPC can involve in simplifying the registration and certification process. We are serious to promote production of organic pepper.

KPG Menon

 You mentioned world growth will come from "Low Pungency" chillies. Are you referring to <500 ……? What is the reason? We thought 'Tex-Mex' foods are becoming more popular in the west.

MSA Kumar, India

The normal increase in consumption is around 2% of which around 1500-2000 tonnes will be pungent and 1500-2000 non-pungent. In addition, in the next 5 to 10 years, we will see an increase in the world trade by 2000 to 3000 tonnes of low pungent chilli, as the excess production in the US, Spain, Hungary and Mexico in that category may be used for their own consumption. This led me to the conclusion that the normal share of low pungency material is growing.

The Tex-Mex foods use middle pungency category to a great degree. So there would be some growth in that sector also.

Statistics of the imports and exports of paprika and pepper oleoresin

A Agarwal

All the production of India is being exported, so it is fairly easy to get the export statistics. The oleoresins produced in US and Spain is consumed internally. As far as Europe is concerned, it is very difficult to get these statistics.
Clifford Ranney

The Statistical Yearbook of IPC contains details about imports and exports of pepper oleoresin.
K P G Menon

 Is there significant quality difference between ORP out of original paprika - Spanish/Hungarian/Moroccan and ORP out of Indian hot chilli (colour and pungency separated)? If you can highlight - colour stability and shelf life of both.
Ravi Jadeja

It is true that there are some differences. But it is very difficult to prove because different countries in processing to take out the pungency, to remove moisture etc, adopt different methods. Colour stability is a more complicated thing. The colour difference is mainly because of the differences in processing and cultural practices and it is not so easy to say specifically that a particular product is coming from a particular country or company.

Clifford Ranney

 As the 3rd world markets start to go slowly to pre-processed spicy foods and convenient foods, do you see the impact or increases in spice consumption coming along here

Kirandip Swani, India

Yes, I am sure that the per-capita consumption will increase. Mainly because of the difference between 1% population growth and 2% consumption growth.

Clifford Ranney

? Given that oleoresin production has been around for 40 years, would you expect us to be using more than the estimated consumer usage figures, if so why?

Akis Stylianou

I don't think so, I think the oleoresin producers have been avid in looking for customers. There are users for ground spice and users for oleoresin. The demand for these will depend upon the price situation and to the specific use to which they are put to.
Clifford Ranney

Since Governments are paying higher attention to control population and the people are avoiding spicy food for an ultimate slim body, then how would an increase in consumption of spices made possible? Since spices are of higher medicinal value, doesn't it seem that by not taking spicy food the people are losing something

Sameek Agarwal

I think there is nothing wrong with the Indian spicy foods. In the US a lot of people are using spicy foods.

Clifford Ranney

 How can we eliminate the pesticide residue problem.

Kedar Spices

The best method is to have a closer coordination among the growers, processors and exporters. Spices Board as government body in India have done a good job in this regard.

Clifford Ranney

 Ms Sharon mentioned that consumption in USA is going up. Is it due to new uses or just change in food habits? Can this growth be sustained?

Pankaj Sampat

Consumption in USA is going up and that is the trend, which began around 10 years ago. But on the other hand we are going to reach a flat rate because we are in a situation where we have fully explored all the ethnic foods everywhere.

Ms Sharon Dolev

 The increase in production of pepper in India in the last 3 decades has not been spectacular. While pepper needs 70-90 inches of annual rainfall, many areas in India, which facilitates excellent condition for the growth of pepper, have been neglected. Eastern India and states like Orissa, Bengal and AP could be prospective growing areas of pepper. Couldn't Spices Board do something to increase production? Would not the WTO norms hurt exporters of spices? Who would benefit most with the WTO norms coming in - in the spice industry - The producing nations or the importing nations.


Directorate of Areca nut and Spices Development, Calicut (India) under the Ministry of Agriculture coordinate production development of pepper between the central agriculture ministry and state agriculture departments. They have different schemes for production improvement. The production aspect does not come under the purview of Spices Board and you can discuss this with the Directorate. It is true that some potential areas are neglected and the Directorate is taking proper action in this regard. The most important thing is productivity for which potential areas should be utilised and un-productive areas neglected.

As regards WTO, the Spices Board and spice exporters are concerned with latest developments in WTO and we are taking measures to safeguard the interests of the exporting community in general. We are in constant dialogue with the importing country representation also because it is not a one-way traffic. When it affects the producing country, it affects the importing country as well. So we are in constant touch with ASTA, ESA, IGPA, All NIPPON Association and we are having lot of dialogues with regard to the specifications and other things concerning the food industry. That is why we selected the theme of this Congress to 'Spices to Food'. We are very much concerned with the things on sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, which are being incorporated in the WTO draft, and we have made this known to the Commerce Ministry officials also as to how we should go about it and we are really looking at it. As regard the production of pepper over the years it has gone up but not to the desired level. Production depends largely on climatic conditions and various other factors.

Mr KPG Menon and Mr T Vidyasagar

 What are the differences between the Indian varieties of turmeric and the Chinese variety.

Epnraim Young

About 98% of turmeric exported world over is from India. I think we have been a little inward looking and not really collected enough information about the Chinese varieties. So I am not able to give a clear idea about it.
Sushama Srikandath

Chinese usually export turmeric bulbs. It has much darker brownish shade compared to Indian. Indian turmeric, ie. Pure Kadappa has got greenish yellow colour, Kadappa from Sangli, got lemon yellow, Nizamabad, is orange yellow in colour. There is not much difference in taste, but mostly in colour.
Kirandip Swani

 How can the sulphide levels in Indian ginger be reduced? Why can't we move away from sulphur dioxide fumigation? How does it affect the overall quality?

Kirandip Swani

Avoid fumigation with sulphur dioxide. The farmers followed Sulphur dioxide fumigation because there was pressure from buyers to give whitish coloured ginger. Traditionally Indian ginger is little darker than the Chinese varieties and it is like dressing up our own ginger. It also has the added advantage that the heat generated during fumigation helped in drying and to keep insects away for a little while. So the producers like to do sulphur fumigation. Now what is required is to adopt clean post harvest practices. Once we start to work in that direction we can do away with fumigation.

Sushama Srikandath

 You mentioned the concept of backward integration for spice hygiene. Do you have any success stories to share?

Hazel Khoo

With regard to this particular aspect we have one success story in chilli, which is not the topic here, and another, with ginger where we avoided sulphur fumigation. We have been successful in exporting sulphur dioxide free material into Germany, Japan and USSR. The success was primarily because we worked with the farmers and educated them the hazards of sulphur dioxide fumigation.

Sushama Srikandath

The moisture content of these items is a major problem for importers. What steps can be taken to ensure low levels at the time of export.


Proper and faster drying to the required moisture level could avoid the problem. Some of our exporters have the capability to work with the farmers to get the product dried properly and also have processing facilities with mechanical dryers or drying facilities. Exporters are capable to supply properly dried produce.

Sushama Srikandath

 Why cooking is there for turmeric. Or what is the importance of the cooking for turmeric.


The cooking is actually a part of the curing where the curcumin gets crystallised.
Sushama Srikandath

Can the Indian spice industry respond to the food safety challenges? Will the commercial considerations prove to be a barrier?


I do not believe that commercial considerations will be a barrier. Regarding the other question, the Indian spice industry can respond to the food safety challenges. Some of the exporters have good supplier-customer relationship developed with a lot of transparency and information sharing. Now the same thing needs go down to all levels and very strongly Indian spice industry can respond to the challenges.

Sushama Srikandath

Since no chemical fertilizers/pesticides are used for organic cultivation and processing, what 'quality' issues are to be considered specifically? (i.e. as opposed to the quality issues raised on conventional products)

Sashi Menon

In general, the same quality parameters are needed for the organic products but in the regulations, there is nothing mentioned about the quality of the product itself. So there is nothing said about what residues of pesticides are tolerated or not. The certificate declaring that the product is organic is given because of the environmentally friendly production methods adopted and not because the product is chemical free. The organic market is demanding a residue free product and tolerates in general 1/10 of normal level, according to the food legislation. For example, if 1 ppb of total DDT is permitted for foodstuff in Europe, the organic market tolerates only 0.1 ppb of DDT.

Birgitt Boor

 Where do you see the market/consumption (demand) for organic herbs and spices? i.e. Retail or industrial? Could you elaborate on this aspect?

Sashi Menon

I think it will be in both sections. At the beginning, it was mainly in retail section, but as convenient food industry developed, more and more organic spices are used. So it will grow in both directions.

Birgitt Boor


 How confident can we be that suppliers are truly supplying us with organic products. For example, how can we ensure that the land upon which the crops have been grown really meets organic criteria? Do you feel the market is open to fraudulent practice? - the ultimate loser is the end consumer as they are paying premium prices for something which is perceived as organic; but for which we fundamentally do not have 100% identity preserved (for example maize starches)

Tracy Walker

Any producer/farmer who wants to sell his products to organic market needs to be inspected at least in countries where regulations exist like EU, United States, Australia and Japan. The inspector is checking the production system and in case of any suspicion he takes the sample for residue analysis. But there is no need to do this, provided the inspector feels that the production system is acceptable. Similarly processors and traders also get inspected to trace the product flow and to avoid mixing it with conventional products as organic product fetches higher price than conventional. However, there are always some holes open for some black sheep. You can find it everywhere, I guess.

Birgitt Boor

 The cost of certification for organic spices is prohibitive and beyond the scope of the average Indian farmer. Since the soil and chemical analyses do not differ for organic and non-organic production, can't the exorbitant rates currently charged be made more realistic and more affordable?

Santosh Mani

Yes; as I said earlier, certification is expensive. But an individual farmer, especially when he is a small-scale farmer will never does export himself. So the farmer normally depends on an exporter. My colleagues and I from Bio-fach are giving advisory services in many developing countries where the exporters are organising small scale farmers to grow certain products organically and the expenses are met by the exporter. But if the farmers are scattered in longer distances each single farmer needs to be inspected and if the quantity he produces is very small, inspection again becomes expensive. So, in case of small-scale farmer, they need to organise into producer groups in a well-defined area with very similar farming system and then they can be inspected as a producer group and thereby reduce the cost of certification.

Birgitt Boor

 How does the panel respond to the fact that Waitrese supermarkets a division of the John Lewis partnership in the UK, aims to make organic its standard product within the next year.

Edward Shaw

They are sympathetic towards the whole idea behind organic. I see the way of putting it more as the will to go forward in organic, than they would really think of turning everything to organic within one year. So it is a clear sign that supermarket chains in UK are willing to convert all the products to organic. We see the same situation in the Netherlands and Germany. One of the supermarket chains in Holland also boldly said that they want at least 4000 organic products at the end of the year. It is very important for us and also for growers.


 Is the popularity of organic produce due to exploitation of Marketing Gimmick by Supermarkets of real benefit to consumer?

A P Joshi

Of course, the supermarkets cannot ignore any hype. They have to go according to consumer demands. But I am afraid in this case; the situation is little bit different from hypes. Organic cultivation is not quite new, and it was in vogue from centuries earlier. I think, the supermarkets are using organic, of course as means for communication and are trying to make out marketing issue of it. But at the end, the consumer will have the benefit from a healthy and well-produced food. So I do not see any gimmick.


What would be the price difference between?
- Organic Turmeric vs. normal crop
- Organic Ginger vs. normal crop
(25-30% premium over conventional produce)


It is difficult to say. For the farmer, I think, we could work on 25% premium, but it is strongly depending on what the farmer is paying for certification and other expenses in production. It is not so easy to say what would be the premium. But at the end, it is totally irrelevant to talk about premium. What is important is that farmer gets the right price for the right product. I hope, at the end, the farmer should get at least the same profit margin from organic as in the case of conventional products.

According to my Dutch colleague, the farmers are doing extremely well. They will have premium up to 40%. But these farmers are very well educated, trained and have very good control over the process. So a good farmer will always make money. If you want to be organic farmer, you have to work very hard. So if you would like to grow organic just for money, you will earn greater disappointment.


 Is there any variety in turmeric that natural starch percentage is more than 60% (which is PFA standard)

S Y Nayak

 Turmeric generally has 50-60% starch in most of the varieties. But there are findings that Nizamabad and Kadappa turmeric have had higher levels than 60%. So you have to be careful if you are marketing your product in India.


What are the pros and cons of storing turmeric in 'pits' vs. 'cold storage' with regard to
Colour retention/degradation
Microbial contamination
Moisture gains/losses


I have not heard of turmeric stored in cold storages. Traditionally they are being kept in pits, which is very cost effective and is a good process. Colour retention, microbial contamination and moisture are controlled in the pits as they are airtight and product is in the state as you have put it in. In cold storage, it may lead to microbial contamination because turmeric has got basically very high TVC level, and that could probably deteriorate the product.


 Do you have any data on size of organic spices in EU, USA, Japan and Australia?

Nimish Vora

I do not have any figures, but some figures of producer countries are available in my paper. As per the report of the ITC (1996) Europe has a total import of 210,000 tonnes. In Europe, at the moment, the organic food share is around 1%. According to the potential of the market in the next 10 years, it is expected that the demand may increase to 10%. The increase would be around 21,000 tonnes for Europe, 30,000 tonnes for the United States and 6,000 tonnes for Japan.

Birgitt Boor

 How long does it take to get a farm certified 'organic'? What is the cost of certification?

We are manufacturer and exporter of dehydrated onion, garlic and vegetables to Europe and USA and would like to know the process of certification for organic. Please advise.

R B Jain

i) According to the EU regulation the farm needs to cross a conversion period of two years to get fully certified. Farms using organic matters only could be certified, without a conversion period. Regarding the costs, it is very difficult to say. It depends on the operation, i.e. the number of inspection and how long the inspector need to inspect the farm. The farmer who asks for inspection should pay inspection cost, travel costs and expenditure for accommodation of the inspector.

ii) An authorised certification agency will help you in processing your case for certification.

Birgitt Boor

 Pakistan does not produce black pepper, white pepper, cinnamon and cardamom. How it is shown in your table that these organic spices are available from Pakistan.

Dr. C K George

This information has come from the organic farmers association of Pakistan. I have not checked it. As I said, these are informal information.
Birgitt Boor

 In most of your presentation the drying takes place on the ground with very little consideration to hygiene and giving rise to aflatoxin and salmonella.

Tony Deep Wohra

There is considerable improvement in the drying conditions over the years and the exporters are capable in meeting quality requirements of the buyers. There is a growing awareness among the farmers about hygienic drying.
Sushama Srikandath

In the Mandis like Nizamabad drying is really done on concrete flooring and in fact drying are done extensively concrete yards throughout the growing areas.
Kirandip Swani
As far as ginger and turmeric are concerned, there are hardly any claims of Salmonella or aflatoxin coming in, at the moment.
R K Menon

 If inspection of organic farming is to be done by inspector from either EU or USA or Japan, it would be very costly particularly, in the initial stage where the production will be on small scale.

Is the Spices Board or any other organisation/institute is looking for inspection of organic products in India?

H Palani

Today morning Mr S M Acharya, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India mentioned that steps are underway to identify both accreditation and certification agencies and if that comes true all the questions of high charges, more expenses and other things, could be tackled to the best of our ability. To be honest, it cannot be cheap, but it can be reasonable. Any way, this matter can be taken up at the Government level and properly addressed at the appropriate time.

T Vidyasagar

 Which pesticides are currently used in India? Are these permitted in EU & USA?
Are there alternatives to those, which are prohibited?
What are the residue levels prescribed in the EU & USA?


Over hundred pesticides are used in India which includes the Organic phosphorus as well as synthetic pyrathroids.

EU and USA do not permit usage of chlorinated hydrocarbons like DDT, BHC; both these formulations are banned in India today except for anti malarial (mosquito control) usage. As far as USA is concerned if a particular insecticide or a pesticide is not registered in USA, there should not be any residue of that particular pesticide.

There are alternatives as well. For example, the Neem pesticide, which is a botanical pesticide, can be a good alternative to chemical pesticide.

Regarding the residue levels, we can have detailed list from EU or from USFDA.

MSA Kumar

 McCormick Co in USA advocated radiation processing of spices to a great extent. What is the status of that company in adoption of radiation processing technique today?
What are the economic aspects of radiation processing as judged by McCormick Co of USA

Dr. D R Bongirwar

In my opinion radiation technique is good and it is viable. It is extremely effective with no detrimental side effects on products if it is done properly.

Radiation has been approved in United States for poultry and meat and the consumers accept that. I hope that it can be extended to spice industry and to more and more consumer products. However in adopting radiation technique, cost is not the main inhibiting factor. The main factor is consumer acceptance.

Roger Lawrence

 How often does a major food producer audit vendors outside of the US. What are the follow up expectations and implications of the non-conformances that have been identified during the audit?

Suresh Swaminathan

There is a special group in the company exclusively for auditing the vendors. Within the group, one set audits the internal suppliers in the US and other group audits the global sourcing of spices and spice related items. Regarding the period of audit, it is done twice in a year. It can be more often also in specific situations. Within 30 days of the audit, a corrective action report has to be submitted by the vendor to the customer (who has done the audit). The vendor will give dates by which they will complete those corrective actions. The company can audit the vendor any time to check up whether the non-conformances identified during the audit have been corrected.

Roger Lawrence

 The irradiation of spices seems to be quite an effective method for achieving desired micro standards but it is coupled with the consumer perception of safe food.

Is there anything done in this regard to alter this consumer perception backed with scientific data?

A P Singh

 What are the consumer fears that revolve around gamma irradiation that has led to lack of consensus on its usage? Kindly elaborate.
How far are they well confounded?

Kiranjit Bajaj

First I should explain a point about the European consumer, though I am not sure whether it applies to US consumer also. We have to recognise that the consumer of today is a knowledgeable person. However, there is a surprising ignorance of the technicalities of food and its production in these countries. Normally we require label of foods and considerable details of ingredients/contents and so on. One can everywhere see the consumer, in the process of shopping, picking these products from shop shelves to examine the labels. The adverse reaction to irradiation is not based on knowledge it is emotive.

UK was at the threshold of the introduction of the genetically modified foods and the same problem was faced by the genetically modified food, which has been faced by irradiated food. So we will have a programme in UK to explain genetic modification and educate the consumer on these issues. The two issues are quite similar. Slowly, the consumer will accept the changes and irradiation will become acceptable.

Eric Fantozzi

 Is use of Ethylene Oxide prohibited in any country?
What is the equivalent of Food Safety Act in the EU?

G V G Rao

Use of ethylene oxide use has been banned in EEC whereas in U.S. it is not banned at present. The indications are that it will be banned in all major countries including U.S.A. shortly.
The equivalent Food Safety Act in the EU is 97/103/EU

Eric Fantozzi

 How successful is use of Ozone (O3) for pasteurisation? (Is it acceptable in Europe/USA?

If space for packing spices were maintained class 1000/10,000 (standard of HNAC), we would be assured of as good as fumigated place. Is it acceptable? i.e. How do I take safeguard whereby no contamination of bacterial or microbial loads take place during packaging and finally reaching to the consumer.

Any pulverizing process without use of metals

Lalid D Meisheri

 OZON is used in water sterilisation etc.
Any experience as far as sterilisation of spices is concerned?

Walter Haller

Use of Ozone has been shown to be effective in certain processing situations involving liquid media. It is used in water, which is used for washing fresh herbs in UK. In Food research associations, we have not seen any good success in the use of ozone in the dry conditions.

As regards pulverization process, I have not come across any methods being used without metals particularly in spices. The tendency has been more to go towards certain qualities of stainless steel in mills replacing the old mild steel to eliminate the metal contamination.

Eric Fantozzi

Generally in a factory having normal standards there is no chance for increasing the microbial load after processing. Fumigation has nothing to do with reduction in microbial load.

Martin J Muggeridge

 Please define what are the 'available water' criteria (methods of measure, range of levels, etc.)

Dr. Frederic Saniere

Available water or otherwise known as relative humidity is the amount of water that is not tied up in the material. If the relative humidity is within 60%, i.e. the water availability is 0.6% no bacteria can survive. Hygrometer or other electronic devices could measure it.

Martin J Muggeridge

You agree to the fact that radiation processing is a very effective method for the micro-decontamination of spices. Governmental agencies in most of the countries subscribe to this view and have cleared irradiation of spices. But yet this technology is not being used to a significant extent openly. Is "labelling" the only factor responsible for the undermining the advantages of this process? What is the future of this technology in your opinion?

D.S. Lavale

Technologically irradiation is very good. In practical terms it is a pasteurisation basically. However the technology is not used significantly as the consumer perception is not changed and the method is not acceptable as a commercial alternative at present in the EU.

Martin J Muggeridge

Normally black pepper and white pepper are contaminated with aflatoxin. How many samples analysed had this problem, i.e., above the permitted level? Aflatoxin problem is noticed universally for pepper imported from all producing countries.

Dr C K George

The European Legislation has currently postulated aflatoxin measurements for pepper black and white. We strive hard for regulation for spice aflatoxin. The UK government about 10 years ago took 100 samples from 6 months deliveries of supply of pepper to the country and did not find a single case of aflatoxin in the 100 samples.

Martin J Muggeridge

 Whether microbial levels have been prescribed for processed organic spices? If so what are these levels. Are they different from the levels prescribed for processed conventional spices?

Dr C K George

It is unacceptable within the EU to pack any spice contaminated with pathogens. The products must be processed properly and made free from salmonella as its presence at retail point will have serious implications including the product getting recalled, whether organic or not.

Martin J Muggeridge

Current legislation for aflatoxin levels in Germany is maximum MRLs and ppb. Total 2 ppb B1. Will Germany move to the 10 ppb? 5 ppb recommended by the EU? Are Indian laboratories able or equipped to analyse spices for aflatoxins at this low level?

Jason Diament

Germany has to do this. It will take time. The only exemption, any country within the EU can go for not complying the legislation of the European Union is an emergency causing immediate problems to its citizens.

I am not sure what technologies Indian laboratories use.

Martin J Muggeridge

 a) Could you give details of spice imports into the US in 1998 (total 968 million lbs)

b) Of the total, how much would low pungency paprika account for

c) Are there any 'pesticide residue levels' prescribed for Spices imported into the US


The import data will be made available to you separately, from ASTA on request.

Elizebeth Erman

 Even a single 'wheat grain' in a 13 ton lot of fennel seed could cause a rejection under the US Weed Act.

a) Why does the US Weed Act come down so heavily on certain weeds, in particularly Indian wheat grains?

b) How far has the ASTA been able to influence the FDA/US DA to see the trade's perspective and the genuine difficulties that surround them?

Kiranjit Bajaj

a) It is to protect the US agricultural products and if there is a foreign seed/wheat seed in the product, it could possibly destroy the wheat crop in the US. I think that is why it comes down so heavily in such cases.

b) We have been working very closely with USFDA on finding reconditioning methods and we brought a case before them for radiation, ethylene oxide and grinding.

Elizebeth Erman

 We have heard of the concerns regarding importing of spices into the EEC and the US and some methods of ensuring safe spices have been discussed!!!

Does spice extracts and oleoresin/oils have an increasing role to play?

O P Nambiar

I think that the use of spices extracts and oleoresins are growing in the US

Elizebeth Erman

 Spices Board and Exporters Forum are aware that many companies abroad have been claiming patenting rights on Indian traditional products as Basmati, etc. Now they have started claiming such rights on spices also such as turmeric and more recently a Japanese company has applied for patent for curry powder also in London.

We are getting several letters from our members on such moves. As an Association we have it brought to the notice of the Govt agencies as well as yourself.

What steps are being taken in this regard to save the spices industry from piracy on the rights of India on its own products traditionally produced and used in India for centuries.

Mahashay Dharampal

Intellectual Property Right is really a justified protection to the person who invents anything. But the problem has arisen when in the ancient times these inventions made are not recorded or not known due to lack of authenticated data on the research done. But that does not take way the right of anybody to patent our traditional resource rights. In such cases where things which are very well known is patented illegally, we have to counter it and expose it. There is no escape from that as country's rights are at stake. We have compiled the compendium with this objective only so that people know what research has already been done in those areas so that somebody cannot claim patent for the work already done in India. The controversy will never die but the right of an inventor to patent cannot be questioned. The compendium will help to substantiate our rights through well-documented data.

Dr A G Mathew

? We have heard so much of the growing concern of spices quality by consumers in terms of microbiological and contaminant levels. Where do we go from here? As a major spice producing country what steps can India take? India or the Indian Spices Board take to ensure better quality spices?

Nestle R&D, Singapore

Organising this particular congress and keeping the theme of 'spices to food' itself is an indication that we have to establish forward and backward linkages, forward in terms of end user expectations, backward in terms of the farmers; the input industry, the spice processing industry and we have to make concerted efforts in this direction.

M.S.A. Kumar


 Malaysian export of pepper is mainly to Singapore - why.
Are you getting better price for steam-sterilised pepper - how much?

K P G Menon

Traditionally Malaysia has been exporting pepper to Singapore, which is the nearest port that has access to the market. They offer competitive price than other markets. Besides, Singapore has growing food industries and there is a very large regional market with growing population of more than half a billion at present. Issues related to duties are also relevant in this context. By the end of 2002, it is very likely that the whole region will have no duties more than five per cent on all products. By 2005, it is expected that there will be neither any duty nor restrictions on trade. So Singapore is still continuing as a major importer of Malaysian pepper.

Steam sterilised pepper is getting a premium of US$ 400 per tonne on all grades.

Anandan Abdullah

The European consumer is in danger of being confused by the description for cinnamon powder. Unfortunately cassia is blended with cinnamon chips and sold as cinnamon how can European delegates help to define cinnamon correctly.

Edward Shaw

You may contact our association and they will furnish you the relevant information.

G. Chatoor


International quality norms cannot be implemented at the farm level unless similar standards are developed for the domestic market also. What steps are we taking in enforcing international quality norms in India?

Hemen Ruparel

We have varieties of laws that are imposed on trading in India but we do not have a system which imposes laws at the farm gate level. We need to devise a system that encompasses implementation of these standards at the farm gate including training and education of farmers. I think I can confirm that there is some work being done in this area. Through Spices Board and Ministry of Commerce, we have been able to get the attention of Ministry of Agriculture, Dept of Horticulture, PFA and the AGMARK, which control standards in India to get together and to develop harmonised Indian standards that will be implemented across the nation. An exercise in this direction is going on and I believe both Spices Board and AISEF are playing a fairly significant contributory role by being on the committee and by working with those agencies in setting the right standards and developing mechanisms to monitor implementation of it in India.

Sanjay Mariwala

We have heard so much of the growing concern of spice quality by consumers, in terms of microbiological and contaminant levels. Where do we go from here? As a major spice producing country, what steps can India or the Indian Spices Board take to ensure better quality spices?

H Khoo

With varied ways of consumption of spices in India, without boiling and roasting (e.g. Green salad dressing), do you feel there a need for a law/regulation on microbial contamination levels for our domestic market. Without a local regulation on microbial contamination levels for domestic consumption, do you think we can (as an industry) gear up well, for increasing demand for pathogen tree spices in the export market?

Joel Sumithra

The harmonised Indian standards which we propose to develop cover all quality aspects related to physical, chemical and microbial contamination. Our efforts to educate farmers, and those involved in handling and processing has already started yielding results.

Sanjay Mariwala

 World Spice Congress is a right forum to discuss with importers about arbitrary restrictions on quality parameters of Indian spices. Have Spices Board & AISEF initiated any dialogue/discussion on this. Please clarify.

D P Reddy

It is true that the WSC is the right forum to raise issues, identify issues and conclude issues which need attention so that we can work on them over the next couple of years before we meet again. I believe the WSC provides us that opportunity to do so. This has been done not only at the last WSC but also the previous one and it yielded results also.

Sanjay Mariwala

Does Sri Lanka extract oleoresin of any spice? How much. Are you exporting spice oil/oleoresins? Which are the spices imported into Sri Lanka, how much?

K P G Menon

Yes. We have oils of pepper and nutmeg and also we extract oleoresins, which are being exported. Unfortunately the figures are not available because they are not classified separately in the customs statistics and we have to look elsewhere to see what the imports in those countries. They are combined with the oil figures that I just produced.

G. Chatoor

Why Indian share in quantity is 50% and the share in earning is only 25%. Which are the main spices imported by India? The message of 3rd WSC was 'Add Value by Quality' Do you get better price for better quality? Is it true that India has about 65% of world trade in spice extracts?

K P G Menon

The major spices exported from India are pepper, chilli, ginger, turmeric, and seed spices which are not high value crops like saffron and vanilla, and hence the earning are not commensurate with volume.

The main spices imported to India are clove, mace and cassia. Nearly 25,000 tonnes of clove have been imported to India last year. Mace a little over 5000 tonnes, cassia about 6500 tonnes. Fresh ginger, garlic and poppy seeds are other items imported in small quantities.

On the question of getting better price for better quality, I would like to respond in a different way. You do not get good prices if you do not have quality. Quality is some thing you need to basically discuss and arrive at an understanding with your customer.
We have a dominant share of about 60-75% in world trade of extracts.

Sanjay Mariwala

How is the progress of organic spices in India?

K P G Menon

India has already started organic farming of spices in a small way in pepper, turmeric and ginger. However, we do not have the reliable data on production and consumption. We do have figures of import from India to different countries, which gives an idea about potential markets.

V Jayashankar

 Do you think the Spices Board can follow up on the detention posted on the web by the FDA, for the benefit of the Indian shippers and the buyers in the U.S?

Sharon Dolev

USFDA detention list is now available on the internet and anybody can download it and we are doing it in every month. Our endeavour would always be to send the best spices abroad. We should also ensure that our companies do not come into disrepute because of procedural problems particularly when we are strict about the logo holding and spice house certificate holding companies. At present the USFDA computer programme does not give any details, as to what happens subsequently to the consignments.

V Jayashankar

 In our presentations, there is no reference on the role of farmers in reducing the impurities/adulterants in the exportable spices from India. For achieving farm level purity, we have to effectively educate the spice producers about the importance of 'purity'. For this funds may be generated with the help of spice exporters. The Directorate of Marketing & Inspection (M/o Agri) will support the project of farm level spice purity training.

Dr. T S Narayana

 Contaminations and impurities can happen in two stages; pre-harvest and post-harvest. Spices Board has no mandate in pre-harvest operations and the Ministry of Agriculture has to address the same. So far as post harvest contamination and impurities are concerned, one of the major activities of the Spices Board is educating the farmers on post harvest handling of spices, which has already been done. There is no need for raising money through the exporters because they pay a cess, which is being collected from the exporters specifically for such activities. In fact, every year we train not less than 25,000 farmers in the country regarding handling of spices after harvest.

V Jayashankar

 In spite of better extraction technology why critical extraction is still not popular in India?

Surendra Mohan

 The main reason for poor commercial acceptance for super critical extraction technology is the high capital cost and resultant high cost of production. Customers are satisfied about the superiority of the product but they feel that alone does not justify for paying a higher price. Efforts are being made now to bring the cost down by finding alternative ways to produce these equipments and plants at much low cost. This is a good environmental-friendly technology and can be the standard for future. But I believe a lot of work is required to be done by the technologists in making this happen.

V Jayashankar

Conclusions &Recommendations

The Session was chaired by Mr. V Jayashankar, Chairman, Spices Board. In the introductory remarks, he emphasised the need for information on the capabilities of the producing countries in terms of volume of production, quality and technology up gradation so that the buyers will be able to source the raw materials as per their requirements.

Mr. Doung Van Thong stated that there has been tremendous growth in production and export of black pepper in Vietnam in the recent years. Prior to 1985, pepper was predominantly a household crop after which its cultivation acquired commercial dimensions. The average annual production was about 20,000 tonnes and the annual export was 16,000 t. during the period from 1990 to 1996. In 1999 the production touched the all-time high of 30,000 t. and the export crossed 25,000 tonnes. From the present trend the country's export is projected to cross 40,000 t. in 2005 and 100,000 t. in 2010. However, the processing and quality assurances are yet to be developed. The other spices are produced only in small quantities in Vietnam, which include star anise, cassia, chillies, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore are the buyers of chillies from that country.

Mr. Sanjay Mariwala highlighted the unique position of India in the global spice scenario as the largest producer, consumer and exporter. He pointed out that India is in an advantageous position to produce a number of spices because the country is blessed with a wide range of agro-climatic situations. The intrinsic qualities of Indian spices make them the most favoured and preferred in the international markets. India meets nearly half of the global demand and there has been steady increase in exports both in terms of volume and value. The R&D backing from the Government and Spices Board, progressive farmers responsive to quality signals and enterprising exporters with hi-tech capabilities are the country's strength. The shift in emphasis from commodities in whole form to value added products has given a new dimension to the spice industry in the country. Special focus is now on the development of organic spices.

Reduction in exportable surplus on account of increasing domestic demand, dependence on nature, pest and disease problems and arbitrary imposition of standards by importing countries are the major concerns of the spice industry in India.

In his paper, Mr. Anandan Abdullah briefly presented the current development in production, trade and consumption of spices in Malaysia. Both the domestic spice market and pepper export industry have undergone significant changes during the last decade. Ground and mixed spices industry has become more sophisticated with the emergence of larger players at the cost of traditional small grinders and mixers. Farm level improvements and improvements in post harvest practices in pepper have been significant and farmers started producing quality pepper. Setting up of steam treatment plants and improved laboratory facilities, extension activities and the relatively high price for the last few years have all contributed to the development of pepper industry in the country.

Mr. Rob Hamlyn, in his paper, presented the importance of South Africa as a producer of Paprika in the world market. He stated that Southern Africa comprising of the Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi has produced up to 22,000 tonnes of whole paprika in the past. Zimbabwe alone accounted for 16,500 tonnes. The production from Southern Africa effectively removed monopoly of Moroccan and Spanish paprika at that time. At present the production and marketing of paprika is totally disorganised in Southern Africa. Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique had to face serious problems. Zimbabwe on the other hand, enjoyed substantial advantage in production of paprika. However due to lack of capital, security of land tenure, political stability and sound economic management, the paprika production in Zimbabwe faces the threat of loosing its position as a major supplier.

Mr. Gulam Chatoor briefly outlined the status of spice production and export from Sri Lanka. Cinnamon, Pepper, Clove and Cardamom are the major spices grown in the country. The annual export of spices and spice oils is valued at about US$ 86 million, cinnamon and pepper contributing to a major share of export. Nearly 90 per cent of global demand of cinnamon is met by Sri Lanka. Contribution of pepper exports from the country is only 2 to 3 per cent of world trade and the major consumer is the Indian extraction industry. The importance of clove is showing a declining trend on account of low prices. Cardamom production in Sri Lanka has declined consequent to nationalisation of estates. Limited availability of land, scarcity for resources and long gestation period of most of the spices are the major constraints. The Government is now subsidising the new planting and replanting of cinnamon, pepper and cardamom.

The Session was chaired by Mr M.S.A. Kumar, Managing Director, AVT McCormicks Ingredients Ltd, Cochin.

Underlining the relevance and importance of the topics to be deliberated upon in the Sessions, Mr. Kumar highlighted basic objectives of the Session.

1. To examine the prospect of forward linkages with the end users and understand the expectations from the quality area.

2. To identify steps to be taken by the exporting countries and the spice processors to meet the quality expectations of the end user.

3. To examine the ever-changing statutory and regulatory environment in the importing countries.

4. To list the changes required in the approach of the national Governments in the exporting countries.

Mr. Kumar pointed to the growth of organic food sector, which is now 10 billion USD is poised to touch 50 billion USD, which is within another 10 years. The world is changing and the trend is very visible towards organically produced spices and foods.

Food safety laws are becoming more and more stringent and we have to conform to these changing quality requirements.

In his overview of the Indian spice industry, he outlined the growth achieved by the spice export sector. In the year 1998-99, total spices export from India crossed 400 million USD and 36% of it pertained to value added products. But in this, oils and oleoresins contribute the major portion. There seems to be scope for enhancing the content of value added items in our exports. With concerted efforts, we should be able to achieve at least another 30% of our exports in value added forms including oils and oleoresins product group.

After these, observations, the papers were presented.

Mr. Roger Lawerence, in his paper on "Expectations of end users from suppliers/supply chain focussed on the food applications and the supply chain requirements. The range of applications of spices is quite wide, from main food to medicinal, nutraceutical and cosmetic applications. From the supply chain perspective, the three crucial requirements from the buyers are (a) the material must be of appropriate quality (b) it must be delivered on time and (c) each order should be honoured in full.

The changing trends in consumer habits have a crucial bearing in deciding the trends in the food sector, and we have to recognise that consumer is at the centre stage.

It is in response to the consumer preferences that the food industry is developing products, which are quick, convenient and tasty. It is here that the spice industry will have the most significant impact.

Mr. Roger Lawrence stressed the importance of food safety and quality, which are key to market growth and development in western markets. The whole supply chain should rise to the new expectations of the consumer, if the industry has to grow, he added.

Mr. Eric Fantozzi, in his paper on "New Trends in spice processing" outlined the standards of cleanliness and relevant process operations considered essential in the UK for the treatment of spices and herbs before it is used as food ingredients. He also emphasised on the microbiological standards, and the ever-increasing demand for reduced levels of infection in spices and herbs used as ingredients often in minimally processed chilled foods.

An overview was also given on current methods of pasteurisation prevalent in UK spice processing industry.

Mr. Martin Muggeridge, Technical Principal at Lion Foods UK and Technical Chairman of European Spice Association, presented his paper on "Current status of the Regulatory Agencies of Spices, Views of ESA and the EC"

He gave an account of the current and forthcoming regulatory and industry requirements. The latest EU stipulations and industry trends in terms of physical, chemical and microbiological requirements, and packaging were elaborated. The forthcoming legislation on mycotoxins and the possible impact of the flavourings directive on the spice trade were also detailed.

Ms Elizabeth Erman, Executive Director of ASTA, gave an overview of the current regulatory issues facing the spice industry in USA. Spice cleanliness and food safety are becoming issues of serious concern. Therefore, there is a trend towards increased legislation and inspections, with a major emphasis on stricter controls on imported foods.

Ms Erman also explained the role of ASTA, the way it interacts with the various regulatory agencies, the interests of the spice industry.

The session was chaired by Mr. T. Vidyasagar, South India Produce Co., P.B.No. 344, Jew Town, Cochin - 682 002, INDIA.

In his introductory remarks Mr. Vidyasagar told that unless we have sufficient crops and enough markets, there is no room for trade and commerce. In this background the session is very important and we have an august audience representing about 44 countries and this group can decide the future of spice industry.

He invited the speakers to present their papers.

Shri K.P.G. Menon, in his paper reviewed the world production and supply position of pepper for the past three decades. Production and export of pepper has increased steadily. The share of export from India and Indonesia has remained almost steady. It is observed that Malaysia is loosing its share in the market during the recent years, whereas Vietnam gained a substantial market share. He informed that the price of pepper for the last few years has been very volatile and it is necessary to strike a reasonable price level acceptable to both producer and consumer. Planned efforts for increasing productivity, reducing cost of production, improving quality and achieving stability in price are important for sustained growth. It is expected that the production may register a substantial increase by 2003, on account of a large area of young plantation is coming to production. He therefore emphasized the need for evolving suitable strategy for increasing and promoting the consumption of pepper by popularising new uses and new applications.

Mr. Clifford Ranney through his paper outlined the present scenario in chilli production and consumption. Chillies are produced and consumed in almost all the countries. India, China, South Africa, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Bangladesh are some of the major producers. It is estimated that the world production / consumption is around 2.1 million tonnes and the annual growth rate is around 2%. He stated that the consumption level of chillies in Japan and European countries is almost static. The growth in demand is generally poor. The only country where there is some positive growth is USA. It is observed in countries like Hungary, Mexico, Morocco, Spain and USA, the import of chillies is increasing mainly to offset the shortfall in their production and not due to any increase in consumption.

The paper on turmeric and ginger presented by Ms. Sushama Srikandath narrated the capabilities of India to supply quality ginger and turmeric to the consuming countries. In ginger, the consuming countries look for colour, volatile oil content and flavour. India has capabilities to cater to these requirements matching with Chinese and Nigerian ginger. Similarly India has various turmeric varieties of different levels of curcumin content and colour shades matching with Chinese and Thai varieties. She stated that the quality expectations for both ginger and turmeric are freedom from pesticide and or fumigant residues, aflatoxin and extraneous matters. Educating the farmers on the expectations of the market would further strengthen India's position.
Ms. Birgitt Boor in her paper on organic spices pointed out the increasing demand in organic food in developed countries. The current share of organic food is around 2-3%, which is expected to increase to 10% within the next five to ten years. The main consuming countries are Europe, USA and Japan. Organic cultivation being more expensive, the growers expect premium price for the produce. Even though some of the special organic produces fetch a premium price higher by 100% or more, if it goes above 20 to 30 per cent the number of consumers to purchase it will drastically come down. So it should be affordable and at the same time remunerative to the growers.

In his paper, on Seed spices, Mr. Milind Chaudhari presented in brief about its production in India. India is a major exporter of seed spices in the world. With the emergence of new technologies and trend towards more ethnic food more and more countries are planning to increase the production of seed spices. Introduction of new varieties with desirable characters, enhancing productivity and reducing cost of production are very important at this stage. Planned research, demonstration and training would be needed to address the challenges ahead. Steps are also essential to meet the requirements in respect of sanitary and phyto-sanitary regulations of consuming countries.