Are Your Spices Fake?



Last year, I had the good fortune to visit Seattle and the World Spice Merchants shop. I liked it so much, I walked out with $100 worth of spices. Now, I know that sounds like a lot of money. Actually, that is a lot of money, but really good spices go a long way. That big bag of goodies will probably last for years. Plus, higher quality spices have way more flavor than the tasteless old powders that pass as spice in many grocery stores.

Besides age and quality, there’s another, more sinister, reason why your spices might have less flavor than you’d like — they’re fake. In fact, trickery is a big problem in the spice trade; the recently established Food Fraud Database has logged hundreds of instances of spices labeled as one thing and containing something else entirely. I took a look through this database to sort out which spices are most likely to be adulterated — and with what. Are any of these not-so-good, bad, and ugly things lurking in your spice cabinet? Find out in my new post on

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