What are “spices”?

No seriously. At the end of the ingredients list of tens of thousands of products it reads “and spices”. So what are they? Pepper? Nope, ’cause I’ve seen things that list pepper separately. Salt? No, they always list that. Oregano? Bug parts? Plutonium? Dirt? What?! I want to know!


  1. Carlotta says:

    Ach. Now I will never sleep at night…hmmm?

  2. Free says:

    Herewith the official definition of spices from the FDA. As for pepper, manufacturers are allowed either to list it, or to include it in “spices.”

  3. Lee says:


    1. SPICES – General Definition – Aromatic vegetable substances, in the whole, broken, or ground form, whose significant function in food is seasoning rather than nutrition. They are true to name and from them no portion of any volatile oil or other flavoring principle has been removed.

    So… … … officially… according to the FDA… … It could be minced digitalis leaves, or ground pine tree needles, or dandilion roots, or cardamom.

  4. Bathes in Milk says:

    Dandelion roots are not as edible as the actual leaves, which are oly nice when they are fresh.

  5. Free says:

    Well, the rules we’re discussing only get to the labeling–not to other rules concerning safety. But to the extent that any of these things was considered safe for use in foods, it could be a spice.

  6. Amy says:

    I’ve heard that “spices” are a chemical that is added to food that makes it addictive and makes us sick. Congress is responable for this mess. Any lable that doesn’t list the “spices” after the word is a chemical that our body can not digest.

  7. give full detail on spices

  8. Dennis McGrath says:

    A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark leaf, or vegetive substance used in nutritionally insignificant quanities as a food additive or flavoring like pepper and cinnamon. As far as hot peppers are concerned, the only thing about that would be only if you were to just use the seed part. Otherwise they are not considered spices, but a vegetable. Some people get confused because pepper, which we use with salt is made from the pepper-corn seed. Generally the pepper-corn seed in it’s raw state is poison and is not edible until it has been baked, which destroys the poison and then makes it possible to use as a spice. Spices are not chemicals, but foods that we use in everyday life. It’s only in how we prepare it that makes it a spice. Dry an onion, and what you get is a spice. Need I say more.????

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