Health Alert – U. S. Embassy Tbilisi, Georgia

Location: Georgia

Event:  Lead in Local Spices – In recent testing of local spices, the U.S. Embassy found two samples (Khmeli Suneli and Yellow Flower) that significantly exceeded the World Health Organization’s recommended limit for lead contamination. Both were manufactured by GEO-Group and sold at Agrohub. In separate testing this year, the Georgian National Food Agency found elevated lead levels in a Red Pepper spice, also manufactured by GEO-Group and sold in a shop in Akhaltsikhe. In addition, the New York City Health Department has found that some spices made in Georgia contain high levels of lead  (https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/lead/georgian-spices.pdf).

The Embassy notes that Georgian spices are not subject to the same standards of food safety as those in the United States, and has advised U.S. government personnel to consider purchasing spices for home consumption from recognized U.S. or international spice manufacturers.

Actions to Take:

  • Exercise caution when purchasing spices manufactured locally
  • Consider purchasing spices only from recognized U.S. or international manufacturers
  • Consult your doctor to see if your children should be screened for blood lead levels.
  • Visit CDC’s website Traveler’s Health for Georgia.

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