Heavy Metal Contaminants of Selected Culinary Herbs and Spices Available in some Ghanaian Markets

Thumbnail Image
JUNE, 2018
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
There is increasing global concerns about the safety of culinary herbs and spices available on market shelves. The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) of Ghana rarely samples culinary herbs and spices on the market for its safety. To ascertain the safety of culinary herbs and spices on the Ghanaian market, the concentrations of Cd, Cr and Pb in ten commonly and frequently used culinary herbs and spices sampled from four large markets in the Accra and Kumasi Metropolis were determined. The dried samples were taken through wet digestion, in triplicate, with a 12 ml HCl and HN03 acid mix to obtain clear solutions which were subsequently analyzed with AAS. All the samples studied contained no detectable traces of Cd. Five of the ten sampled culinary herbs and spices contained detectable traces of Pb, whilst two of the ten contained detectable traces of Cr. Turmeric recorded the highest mean Cr concentration (0.42± 0.03 mg/kg). The mean concentrations of Pb present in five of the sampled herbs and spices exceeded the maximum permissible limit set by the WHO at 0.1 mg/kg (Anise; 8.95± 0.05 mg/kg, Cloves; 5.50±0.05 mg/kg, Fennel; 6.52±0.06 mg/kg, Rosemary; 4.55±0.06 mg/kg and Turmeric 0.85 ±0.08 mg/kg). The results indicate that the culinary herbs and spices on the market may contain high levels of heavy metals which are a potential risk to human health.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Science, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Food Quality Management,