Paprika and spices from Murcia, Spain

About us

Our fully modernized production site is located in La Matanza de Orihuela, Alicante, Spain.  Over the past three years El Clarin has invested over $3 million in investments at this location.  We are equipped with state of the art milling and packaging machinery, including steam sterilization capabilities.  We export over 2,000,000 kg annually and have a production capability of up for five tons/hour on our fully automatic packaging line.   Other on-site facilities include:

  • Fully equipped, state of the art laboratory
  • Climate controlled storage warehouse (5400 cubic meters) with pest-free plastic pallets
  • ISO 9001 certified since 2004 (ISO 22000:2005 in process)
  • HACCP product safety control management
  • Production according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) quality system







EL CLARIN SPICES, S.L. is an experienced exporter of sweet paprika powder, hot and smoked paprika powder, oleoresin of paprika, crushed red pepper, capsicum products and aromatic herbs. In its third generation, El Clarin has over 65 years experience in the paprika and spice trade.



Paprika: an unknown source of vitamins and minerals

Paprika is an ingredient found in Spanish cuisine to flavor and color dishes, but besides being a spice that affects the organoleptic characteristics of food, paprika represents an unknown source of vitamins and minerals.

By adding a teaspoon of paprika to potatoes or paella we consume about 13 mg calcium, 164 mg potassium, 24 mg of phosphorus, magnesium 13 mg, 423 mg of vitamin A and antioxidant vitamins B-complex .

With only about 20 calories we can get these micronutrients good for the body, while adding flavor and color to dishes with a small amount of paprika, an ingredient that we never would have thought, have all these vitamins and minerals hidden in its composition.

Source: http://www.vitonica.com/alimentos/el-pimenton-una-fuente-desconocida-de-vitaminas-y-minerales



Paprika – Spain’s Secret Ingredient


It’s basically little more than an afterthought in North America, but paprika is an essential element of regional cooking in many parts of Spain. I love it because it’s such an easy thing to use to add life to just about every kind of savory food you can think of.

It’s funny these peppers have become such integral elements of Spanish cooking when there were of course no peppers existent in Europe before Columbus’ voyages at the end of the 15th century. But then I guess the same is true of tomatoes in Italy or paprika in Hungary or… So let’s just appreciate the transfer for agricultural products and the great flavors that came out of them. Paprika, if you don’t already know, is made by merely drying fresh red ripe peppers, then grinding them into a powder. The quality of the paprika is obviously dependent on the quality of the pepper variety and skill of the growers and then on the grinding and handling work.

If you’re into getting hooked on powders of any sort, this is one that you can healthily and happily get addicted to.

The two best-known paprikas of Spain are produced on opposite ends of the country. Pimenton de la Vera, which has gotten to be quite familiar to American cooks over the last decade or so, comes from the west. It’s dried over smoldering oak logs and hence has a lovely smoky flavor. It really is pretty great; deeper than deep, compelling to its core. Because of the smokiness not everyone loves it but those of us who do are pretty hard and fast fanatics. If you’re into getting hooked on powders of any sort, this is one that you can healthily and happily get addicted to.


The other paprika comes off the east coast, from the region of Murcia to be exact. It’s a lot less known in this country, probably because it’s subtler in flavor and because–since it’s neither smoked nor spicy hot–it’s a lot less glamorous than the above-mentioned Pimenton de la Vera. But it’s really good and it’s unique. And I love it for mashed potatoes, fresh fish, rice, and just about anything else you can think of. Great with olive oil on toasted bread from the Bakehouse. It’s also a key ingredient in one of my favorite Spanish dishes–polpo gallego. Despite the fact that it lies at literally the farthest corner one could get from Murcia and still be in Spain, this is the most famous dish of the region of Galicia is polpo gallego–octopus boiled, drained, and then dressed with good olive oil, a touch of salt, and lots of Murcian paprika.

You can use either of these paprikas with pretty much any kind of food you can think of; pork, potatoes, fish, eggs, rice, paella, salads. Hard to go wrong on any road you go down with these two. Stock ‘em and sprinkle at will.

By: Ari Weinzweig in The Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/food/archive/2009/11/paprika-spains-secret-ingredient/29797/)


Summer Update

We at El Clarin hope that everyone is enjoying their summer vacations.

In the paprika market there continue to be problems with raw material contamination.  In certain cases contaminated paprika powder has entered the market and been withdrawn after official controls.  Check our ‘Spice Industry Alert’ page in order to see some specific cases from Europe.

El Clarin’s Quality Control Team continues to work hard in order to avoid such costly problems.  We are continuosly monitoring our raw materials and finished products by analysis in our state of the art laboratories.

Posted: August 17th, 2010 .

Avoiding Micotoxins in Paprika

A new code of practice prevents or reduces contamination by ochratoxin A in paprika

Paprika is a dry product obtained after grinding the dried red varieties of the genus Capsicum. The main commercial variety is C. annuum. During all processes of obtaining the final product, it is essential to keep humidity levels low to prevent the formation of ochratoxin A (OTA), classified as a probable human carcinogen. The implementation of HACCP techniques, along with proper traceability and registration during the stages of production, are essential to prevent an increased risk of high levels of OTA. A new code works to ensure that this is so. Its adoption coincided with the entry into force this July, a new EU regulation which limits the content of micotoxins in spices.

Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a toxic metabolite from fungus that occurs when the humidity, temperature and presence of nutrients allows the development of Aspergillus and Penicilium. The possible contamination during cultivation remains stable in storage and is resistant to the subsequent processes of industrial transformation. Although there was a previously  established maximum level of OTA in various foods, sometimes,  a high content of this pollutant in spices was detected, so a maximum level has been set to prevent such contamination from entering the food chain .

Through the EU Regulation 105/2010, of February 5, this new level was set for the first time in spices for a maximum of ochratoxin A, which takes effect this July and will be tightened beginning 2012. The European Commission has given this period of adjustment to the producing countries exporting to the European Union to implement voluntary measures to adjust to the new contents of OTA. Meanwhile, the Spanish Food Safety Agency (AESAN) has developed a Code of Good Manufacturing Practices to prevent and reduce contamination of OTA in the paprika. The measure is intended as a reference for the sector to see if it is possible to achieve the required levels from next year. Once implemented this code, data collected on an ongoing OTA content in pepper to assess the effectiveness of the document.

Spain is a major producer of paprika in the world, hence the need to remain at the forefront in terms of quality and food safety. Besides its use as a condiment in traditional cooking, this spice is used as a food ingredient of sausages and other meat, sauces, marinades and dishes already prepared.

Three basic steps to preventing Micotoxins:

Prior to harvest, it is essential to apply fungicides approved for geographical areas where climate, moist and mild, encourage the development of mycotoxins, especially during fruit ripening. Also recommended soil fungicides and pesticides if conditions so require. This measure aims to minimize the damage to the fruit. Good Agricultural Practices (remove weeds, optimum planting density, pruning, cleaning and disinfection of tools …) are useful to minimize risk. Other recommendations go to avoid untreated organic fertilizers and sprinkler irrigation during flowering. Finally, we recommend the use of disinfected seeds and schedule harvest for the dry season.

Depending on the time of production, good practices are applied before, during and after harvest of paprika

During harvest, it is imperative to collect at the point of optimum ripeness, when the pigment levels are highest and the water content, minimum. It is essential that the fruit off the ground to avoid contamination. Personnel involved in the work of harvesting should be prepared to recognize and remove damaged peppers or with symptoms of contamination by fungi that are removed to prevent recontamination of the soil. Tools, containers and vehicles must be cleaned and disinfected.

After harvesting, the peppers are immediately transferred to the dryer and protected at all times of rain or moisture. In case of delay they should be kept cool and dry.  Workers must clear and remov the peppers with symptoms of fungal infection, and that otherwise could contaminate the whole harvest. After this, the peppers are dried to reduce their water content and achieve a stable and quality product. Depending on the climate of the producing area, the fruits can be dried in the sun or hot air dryers. The latter option is recommended in high humidity climates and mild temperatures. At this stage, moisture and time factors are vital: 5 days or less are effective in preventing the accumulation of OTA in the range between 0.8 to 0.95 water activity, an experimental limits, including develops the fungus and it produces OTA.
Avoid moisture

Besides avoiding the peppers come in contact with the ground, we need a proper extension and inclination of the drying yard, suitable surfaces, peppers rotated during the process, protection from pests, humidity control using calibrated equipment and trained personnel in the prevention of mycotoxins. Once dry, the peppers are inspected and marked with the removal of stained, damaged or discolored. It is time to collect samples for laboratory analysis to determine their levels of OTA. To verify the effectiveness of selection methods, analytical results must be kept of all lots. If not processed immediately, the product is compacted by dams and packed in breathable material used to store food in a clean, ventilated, dry, well protected from moisture.

The next step is the transfer to the milling facilities. The operator should always follow the same principles of protection relative humidity and temperature. Transportation providers will be chosen to ensure the right conditions. Excessive heat can cause fluctuation in the condensation of water inside containers. The process, which should take place as soon as possible, including the grinding of pepper and dry sterilization at 70 ° C. Once cooled, packaged with a material that serves as a barrier to moisture due to the hygroscopic nature of paprika. To avoid the proliferation of fungi, the moisture content of the final product should be between 3% and 12%.

Microbiological contamination

The most important toxigenic fungi isolated from pepper used to make paprika are Penicillium expansum, P. and P. citrinum Raistrickia, according to a 2006 study by the Technical University and ETSI and the Institute of Plant Biotechnology Cartagena. Paprika are isolated, especially fungi such as Aspergillus glaucus and A.restrictus, but also frequently detected A. flavus, A. ochraceus, A. vernier and A. parasiticus, some of whose strains are aflatoxin. Occasionally, you may find OTA produced by A. ochraceus or A. carbonarius. We recommend drying with low relative humidity and 45-50 º C to prevent the proliferation of mycotoxins. No toxins from Fusarium spp. and toxicity of mycotoxins of the fungus Alternaria alternata is low. They may contain other fungal genera such as Rhizopus and Cladosporium.

Moreover, between the microbiological contamination, most natural non-pathogenic enterobacteria include fecal origin, particularly Escherichia coli. Also detected the presence of Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus and Salmonella species and other organisms such as Clostridium perfringens, but are virtually absent when sterilized samples. In addition to the spores of Bacillus and Clostridium genera, spices may contain bacteria spore of the genus Streptococcus and Pseudomonas, among others.

Link:  http://www.consumer.es/seguridad-alimentaria/ciencia-y-tecnologia/2010/07/01/194060.php

Posted: July 8th, 2010


Peru Export Association warns of a 12% drop in paprika exportation due to European health measures


# Lima, May. 10 (ANDINA). The Association of Exporters (ADEX) estimated today a further drop to 12 percent in the export of paprika (Capsicum spp) Peru this year due to sanitary measures applied by the European Union. “Months ago some paprika shipments were rejected by mycotoxins detected in amounts greater than permitted, and now with the new legislation will take effect from July we are at risk of falling into total shipments, said President of the Committee of Producers and Exporters of Adex Capsicum, Jorge Chepote.

Mycotoxins are toxins produced by fungi that invade crops in the field and contaminate agricultural products during the fruiting stages, especially in post-harvest stages, as in storage when conditions favor their proliferation.

In this sense, the contaminated food to be harmful to human health are not accepted in the markets when they exceed certain limits, and the rejection of contaminated products creates important economic and trade issues in almost all phases of marketing, from producer to the consumer.

He explained that on 5 February the European bloc imposed the maximum allowable levels of mycotoxins permitted in the paprika and currently is 50 parts per billion.

Since the first of July this year, far lower than 30 parts per million up to June 30, 2012, and subsequently, the measure is reduced to 15 parts per billion.

“If we do not meet in July this requirement, we would lose that market thus frustrate the consolidation of the Peruvian paprika,” he said.

It therefore considered it urgent to control and GFP control of the producers of paprika because only in this way will ensure top quality products with which they compete in the Spanish market.

“Given the Rules of Safety and Regulation of Cultivation, the National Service of Agrarian Health (SENASA) will have the autonomy to inspect the areas of production and work hand in hand with farmers,” he said.

In that regard, he said that does not improve the current context, it would jeopardize not only the international competitiveness of the sector but it also lost thousands of jobs.

“The figures are alarming and that for every hectare of paprika is required between 150 and 200 workers and now have lost about 4,000 hectares, which means a decrease in numbers of the investment of seven million dollars,” said Chepote.

Adex advierte caída de 12% en exportación de páprika este año por medidas sanitarias de Europa


  • Cultivos de páprika. Foto: ANDINA / Adex.
    Cultivos de páprika. Foto: ANDINA / Adex.

Posted: June 8th, 2010  

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