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Food fraud in spices

Quality of spices at risk

Spices are at extremely high risk of food fraud. The global herb and spice industry is valued at approximately $4 billion and is still growing. With spices worth as much as gold, it is not incomprehensible that fraudsters lurk around the corner.


The list of adulterations in spices and herbs is therefore endless, and mostly based on the following principles:

  • Mix your raw material with an inferior raw material 

  • Add more color to your product 

  • Add more weight to your product


In a mix, change the percentage of the ingredients based on the price of raw materials. 


Despite all these possible frauds, as a food producer, you need to guarantee the same quality and taste to your customers. On top of that, it is very difficult to have samples analysed at the lab, because they need to know what they are looking for. Fraudsters know this and change their adulterants regularly.

Identify food fraud in spices with NIRS

Adulterants in spices are best detected with the consistent quality model of Near Infrared Reflection Spectroscopy (NIRS) because of the rapid change between different adulterants.


To fight food fraud in spices with this prediction model it is important to have enough variety in the samples. We need  to scan different lots to include this variety. For spices adulterated with almost always the same adulterant, classification models are also possible.

Coriander Seeds


To create a consistent quality model, we collect spectral data on a daily / weekly basis using the Xpectrum spectrometer, depending on the  volume of raw material coming in. As soon as we have sufficient datapoints, the Xpectrum platform creates a first model. This model can be used  to test your raw material at reception.


Once the first model has been created, every new scan will be used to update the model and make it more  robust. The model will analyse each scan and give an alert when the scanned raw material deviates from the expected quality. Then, this sample  should be sent to the lab for further examination.

Discover more about our Pure & Sure handheld scanner to check the quality of spices and fight food fraud in spices. Download our whitepaper for free.

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