There is more to spices than what meets the eye. Have you ever considered the quality of the spices you purchase in your local supermarket? Probably not. I know I didn't. I mean, if I was at Whole Foods or another natural grocer and needed a spice, I'd buy it there but I didn't exclusively buy organic spices. The key to buying spices is to buy non-irradiated. It likely won't say on the package but I can bet most supermarkets are selling irradiated spices. What is irradiation you ask? I'll fill you in.
The bottom line is irradiation damages the quality of any food in order to kill microbes, pests, and bacteria. The ionized radiation process breaks up molecules and creates free radicals. While the free radicals have the ability to kill some bacteria, they also bounce around in the food causing damage to vitamins and enzymes. The free radicals also combine with existing chemicals, like pesticides, forming new chemicals called unique radiolytic products (URPs). What are examples of URPs? Benzene and formaldehyde are two of them, but there are some URPs that exclusively pertain to irradiated foods as well.
The number one reason why companies are irradiating spices is to increase the shelf life of their product. While that may sound good to some (most importantly the government and the Canadian Nuclear Association), all it leaves us with is a degenerated food product since most of the valuable qualities of the herb or spice are killed off.
If you would like to get the most from your spices, choose organic, non-irradiated spices. If you're wondering about spices you currently own, just e-mail the company or research online! As soon as I found this out, I threw away all of my spices. That may sound dramatic, but I don't want to eat potentially carcinogenic and essentially dead food. Today, my collection of spices from Simply Organic were delivered so I can now enjoy my organic, non-irradiated food!