Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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.