Quality Management in Spice Paprika Production as a Synergy of Internal and External Quality Measures

Spice paprika is a major spice commodity in the European Union (EU), produced locally and imported from non-EU countries, reported not only for chemical and microbiological contamination, but also for fraud. The effective interaction between producers’ quality management practices and government and EU activities is described on the example of spice paprika production and control in Hungary, a country of leading spice paprika producer and per capita consumer in Europe. To demonstrate the importance of various contamination factors in the Hungarian production and EU trade of spice paprika, several aspects concerning food safety of this commodity are presented. Alerts in the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) of the EU between 2005 and 2013, as well as Hungarian state inspection results on spice paprika in 2004 are discussed, and quality non-compliance claims regarding spice paprika among EU member states are summarized in by means of network analysis. Quality assurance measures established along the spice paprika production technology chain at the leading Hungarian spice paprika manufacturer, Kalocsai Fűszerpaprika Zrt. are surveyed with main critical control points identified. The structure and operation of the Hungarian state food safety inspection system is described. Concerted performance of the latter two quality management systems illustrates the effective interaction between internal (manufacturer) and external (state) quality control measures.

Food Safety Aspects of Pesticide Residues in Spice Paprika

Environmental and health safety of condiments used for spicing food products in food processing or by culinary means receive relatively low attention, even though possible contamination of spices may affect food quality and safety. Contamination surveys mostly focus on microbial contaminants or their secondary metabolites, mycotoxins. Chemical contaminants, particularly pesticide residues, however, are clearly substantial factors in the case of given condiments in the Capsicum family including spice paprika and chilli. To assess food safety and support the quality of the Hungaricum product spice paprika, the pesticide residue status of spice paprika and chilli is assessed on the basis of reported pesticide contamination cases and non-compliances in the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed of the European Union since 1998.

Environmental and Toxicological Impacts of Glyphosate with Its Formulating Adjuvant

Environmental and toxicological characteristics of formulated pesticides may substantially differ from those of their active ingredients or other components alone. This phenomenon is demonstrated in the case of the herbicide active ingredient glyphosate. Due to its extensive application, this active ingredient was found in surface and ground water samples collected in Békés County, Hungary, in the concentration range of 0.54–0.98 ng/ml. The occurrence of glyphosate appeared to be somewhat higher at areas under intensive agriculture, industrial activities and public road services, but the compound was detected at areas under organic (ecological) farming or natural grasslands, indicating environmental mobility. Increased toxicity of the formulated herbicide product Roundup compared to that of glyphosate was observed on the indicator aquatic organism Daphnia magna Straus. Acute LC50 values of Roundup and its formulating adjuvant polyethoxylated tallowamine (POEA) exceeded 20 and 3.1 mg/ml, respectively, while that of glyphosate (as isopropyl salt) was found to be substantially lower (690-900 mg/ml) showing good agreement with literature data. Cytotoxicity of Roundup, POEA and glyphosate has been determined on the neuroectodermal cell line, NE-4C measured both by cell viability test and holographic microscopy. Acute toxicity (LC50) of Roundup, POEA and glyphosate on NE-4C cells was found to be 0.013±0.002%, 0.017±0.009% and 6.46±2.25%, respectively (in equivalents of diluted Roundup solution), corresponding to 0.022±0.003 and 53.1±18.5 mg/ml for POEA and glyphosate, respectively, indicating no statistical difference between Roundup and POEA and 2.5 orders of magnitude difference between these and glyphosate. The same order of cellular toxicity seen in average cell area has been indicated under quantitative cell visualization. The results indicate that toxicity of the formulated herbicide is caused by the formulating agent, but in some parameters toxicological synergy occurs between POEA and glyphosate.