Salts/spices/herbs And Age/bacteria/mycotoxins

last night i found myself in a weird position: utterly incapable of defending a significant change to my kitchen.


when someone went to season something, and found my (typically-full) cabinet of spices to be a ghost-town, i explained that i had tossed the majority as they were cess-pools of bacteria and fungus, and that my new spices are all in teh fridge (where i've got my small-serving containers of spices- i figure it's smarter than big containers, since i'll replace smaller ones more frequently)


after the laughter died down, i was informed i had thrown away a ton of perfectly good spices.  that is *usually* the time in a discussion where i enlighten everyone with some lesser-known data and convincing arguments.  I was completely unprepared and now i feel foolish for, well, basically just taking dave's word w/o exercising a thought of my own.  


they were telling me: 

- while potency of ingredients/flavor goes away (over LONGer amounts of time), they do not become the cesspools i was asserting; in fact, if they were, people would likely get sick, or FDA would intervene in restaurant scenarios (wherein the salt/pepper shakers are, surely, nuclear wastelands compared to the shakers in your home)

- w/o nutrients, there's only so much bacteria/fungus that could *ever* take hold in such containers, and it is so minimal that it's below what we accept everyday just doing things like, say, walking past a dumpster



it's usually not in my nature to take someone at their word, but dave's got enough that i know is accurate, that i subconsciously made certain exceptions.  now that i'm kind of 'out of the honeymoon' and about a month on bp, i'm trying to learn so *I* know why i do what i do.  Could anybody explain, and hopefully point me to references, on why my pepper and oregano were, contrary to popular thought, deserving of going to the trash?



  • in fact, any comprehensive "mycotoxins, food, and your kitchen" type articles would be greatly appreciated.  dave talks about mycotoxins 24/7, but i guess i'm looking for something more in-depth (ie quantifiable levels, levels in comparison, levels wrt health, etc etc etc.)

    Given mycotoxin-avoidance as one of, if not the, primary differentiator between bp and most other primal varieties out there, surely there's clear evidence and further reading, no?

  • While I could not find a good reference for spices in the home, here is a very interesting article on PubMed that I found about mycotoxins in general.


  • Andy BoskampAndy Boskamp Andy Boskamp

    I am quite interested in this too. Currently I am working on a rather large container of turmeric that I bought about 6 months ago. I put about a teaspoon in my evening meal every night. Is this acceptable or potentially dangerous. I have researched it a bit myself and found this article: 


    It basically claims that the antioxidants in foods like turmeric (and coffee) are protective against mycotoxins. So could the antioxidant potential of this spice counteract the possible risk of it being contaminated? Should I continue consuming this not so fresh turmeric, or am I far better off buying a new supply?

    “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”


    - Marcus Aurelius

  • Do You store all spices in the fridge to prevent mold growth?was not aware of this

  • The main priblem is not storage, it's the production. Some plants, even fresh ones can have mold, and its not the mold, its the toxins they release to defend them self.
    Please email me instead of PM

    [email protected]
  • precisely- but i guess i mean something quantifiable - something to prove why it's smarter to spend the extra effort to keep fresh spices (ie, if the mycotoxin exposure, cumulatively, from a bottle of pepper was akin to just one whiff of bad/rotted food or a dumpster, i imagine that this effort is not worthwhile in a practical sense.  

    reducing exposure is a good thing, but getting obsessive about something that's already well-past the point of diminishing returns, can be a complete waste of time.

  • thank you, will check those out in a minute!  i just started getting worried cuz bp is, in essence, a "clean" paleo, wherein half the clean is focused on mycotoxins.  while paleo (and even avoidance of toxins like antibiotics/hormones in your food) are clearly established, this site is the 1st time i'd ever even heard of mycotoxins.

  • Does anyone know of a source to buy spices that have been tested for mycotoxins?

  • Does anyone know of a source to buy spices that have been tested for mycotoxins?

    I'm hoping for Dave to release upgraded black pepper and upgraded taco spice mix :)
    Please email me instead of PM

    [email protected]
  • pierre, is there any way i could get you to elaborate more on this?  let me explain my skepticism here... I like bulletproof and have adopted much of it, but the 'mycotoxins are everywhere adn hella toxic' line really messed with me.  While there's really no denying mycotoxins, in specific scenarios, are extremely damaging, i'm still not seeing anything concrete to make me feel less than foolish for having thrown away all my spices, and bought new ones to keep in the fridge, that i treat as if i'm in a sterile lab lest they become contaminated, too.

    Clearly there's 'points of diminishing returns' in almost everything, and when it comes to environmental toxins this is no exception.  But there's clearly a point that more time/money spent worrying about it is a waste and barking down the wrong path - for instance, to everyone fearing the poisons in their pepper shaker, are you also buying new pillows frequently?  how's your home's water or R/O system functioning?  Are you driving in rush-hour smog everyday?  etc etc


    earlier when i asked, you showed me some random (3rd world?) country where pepper was bad, and then you reinforcded why mycotoxins are bad w/ the wiki page.  that's all well and good, but it really does little to demonstrate that ppl w/ relatively-clean and fresh pepper have any cause whatsoever for concern.  am hoping you can elaborate a bit more specifically so we can all get on the same page on this one, cuz if this is a concern like some here proclaim, then more should know about this; if it's not remotely as bad or serious as some claim, then we shouldn't be putting as much effort into concern as we may be, yknow?

  • Samir aka JudoSamir aka Judo The Grass-Fed Beast
    edited March 2013
    Just pick your battles for bulletproof choices. If you don't want to follow something or too lazy to then just google/research everything about it and learn it's effects on you. Just remember to add up the things you've skipped because the list gets long.
    Be your own best friend instead of your own worst enemy. You are the only person who will always truly be there for you.
  • it's not like that, man, i'm still erring on the side of 'my spices are poisonous'.  I guess i just expected that, given how pivotal the mycotoxin angle is in differentiating bp from the myriad other raw/paleo/etc diets out there, that there'd be a lot more clear/given knowledge on this forum.



    (i hesitated even making this thread cuz i feared that, were it not easily demonstratable that the avg person's shakers and whatnot were cause for concern, that posters here would take the inability to demonstrate this as something to get defensive about.  I'm not trying to call anyone out here, i'm just trying to 'pick my battles' as you say, and at this point it seems it'd be more appropriate to get a food scale, or worry about the minutes gained/lost on sleep patterns, than give 2shits about mycotoxins.  IF i was wrong i'd want to know tho, yknow?)

  • I too am very interested in this.  I think you have to use some common sense though and a bit of choosing your battles.  If you go buy spices in a grocery store what do you expect?  If you go to a spice shop buy spices in small quantities in whole format and grind them yourself in a spice grinder or use mortar and peste I would think you are much safer.  The real gotcha is what spices are known to be problematic like black pepper and garlic are.  But what about szechuan pepper?

  • edited March 2013

    I understand that buying raw herbs is better than a sealed bottle of pepper from walmart, but the point is the quantity/severity (again, we ALL have to work w/ points of diminishing returns when putting time/effortt into these pursuits, and my "not worth the effort" bell rings on some of this mycotoxin stuff, so i'm just hoping that others who seem to know, can help me to learn/understand, not just take them on faith.  I guess i mean that i find it VERY hard to believe that ppl concerning themselves w/ mycotoxins, have every other important facet of health just totally dialed-in.  I'm curious why, then, they focus on mycotoxins - and don't think that's too much to ask!)

    (EDIT: as example, i can tell you why i don't jog on main roads during rush hour, and i can get kinda-specific - enough to very liikely convince many of you why it's a bad idea.  i'm hoping for a similar explanation on mycotoxins - hell, i don't even know that i've heard the issue of jogging alongside cars/traffic brought up once here on these boards, so if that isn't considered, but mycotoxins are, i expect reasoning beyond 'dave said' or 'there are detectable levels'.  This is never ever too much to ask or inappropriate, i just fear that the way i've phrased things has put ppl on the defensive :/ )

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