Sure, rub it in—but maybe grind your own spices! The FDA calls them food defects and defines its permissible “Food Defect Action Levels” as listed in their online booklet to be “the levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that present no health hazards for humans.”
The list of “defects” includes rodent feces (excrement), rodent hair, molds, whole insects, insect parts, beetle eggs, beetle larvae, and more. Most defects are defined as “aesthetic” – really?!
Would you like a taste of the foods that we consume according to the FDA standard’s “Protecting and Promoting Your Health”? Here are a few samples of upper acceptable limits (in abbreviated form) gleaned from the publicly available FDA booklet:
Whole Allspice: 5% berries per weight are allowed to be moldy.
Ground Allspice: 30 insect fragments per 10 grams; 1 rodent hair per 10 grams – Latter with the remark that these defects are “aesthetic”!
Ground Cinnamon: 400 or more insect fragments per 50(!!) grams, 11 or more rodent hairs per 50 grams. – From now on, grind your own!
Crushed Oregano: 300 insect fragments per 10 grams and 2 rodent hairs or excrements per 10 grams. – But…
Ground Oregano: 1250 insect fragments per 10 grams and 5 rodent hair or excreta per 10 grams.
Clearly, the difference of allowable levels between whole or rubbed and ground “defects” lies in the purely “aesthetic” effect. Who coined, “what you don’t see won’t hurt you”?