McCormick responds to Queen’s University Belfast sage findings

Posted: 30 October 2020 | | No comments yet

McCormick’s VP welcomes investigation into sage fraud and celebrates its own clean results whilst reminding consumers that not all sage is equal.

sage leaves

McCormick has welcomed the publication of the Food Intelligence Information Network sage authenticity survey’s findings.

“[We] are fully aligned with the testing approach used by the research team at Queen’s University Belfast,” wrote David Rhys Jones, Vice President, Quality and Regulatory Affairs at McCormick, EMEA, in an open letter.

Jones went on to highlight the importance of food safety, integrity, quality and sensory characteristics at McCormick, and attributed this as one of the reasons it collaborated with the Belfast team during this project.

“While Professor Elliott’s study of the category found that just over 25 percent of the samples tested were adulterated and the level of bulking ranged from 29 percent to 58 percent, we can confirm that none of our products, including our Schwartz range, have been implicated as part of this survey. As we expected, our sage was shown to be simply sage – delivering high quality flavour,” Jones’ letter continued.

He added that although the study did not highlight any issue with McCormick’s products, the company is “committed” to doing everything it can to help identify and eradicate intentional economic adulteration within the marketplace.

His letter also stipulated the measures McCormick takes to ensure high quality:

  • Sourcing: McCormick sources premium sage by working proactively with local growers to help guarantee the quality of sage from field to jar. It sources whole leaves, mitigating the chance for added ingredients and contamination. McCormick has established a long-term strategic alliance with reliable suppliers which work directly at origin, and each batch is rigorously tested against specification.
  • Testing: While other sage may contain up to 58 percent adulteration, McCormick sage products are tested for fillers and foreign matter. It conducts many thousands of product analyses each year by testing for contaminants, flavour characteristics and more.
  • Careful management from harvesting to packaging: McCormick’s sage is gently dried to maintain its colour. The sage leaves are carefully handled from harvesting to packaging, preserving the oils that deliver high-quality sage aroma and flavour.

Jones concluded the letter with: “As leaders in this sector, we are pleased this issue of adulteration is getting attention and believe it’s important that consumers are aware that all herbs and spices aren’t all of the same quality.”


David JonesDavid Rhys Jones is Vice President, Quality and Regulatory Affairs at McCormick, EMEA. He has extensive experience in leading Quality and Food Safety in global organisations, including Britvic Soft Drinks, Diageo PLC and the Molson Coors Beverage Company. He has also worked as a consultant for a range of clients in the food, beverage and flavours sectors globally, across topics such as quality and food safety, risk management, technical governance and brand protection.

Related topics

, ,

Related regions

Related people

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.