Caraway [German version]

Table of contents

Product information
  Container transport
  Cargo securing

Risk factors and loss prevention:
Temperature Odor
Humidity/Moisture Contamination
Ventilation Mechanical influences
Biotic activity Toxicity / Hazards to health
Gases Shrinkage/Shortage
Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion Insect infestation / Diseases

Product information

Product name

German Kümmel
English Caraway
French Carvi
Spanish Carvi
Scientific Fructus carvi of Carum carvi
CN/HS number * 0909 40 ff.

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Caraway is the mature, dried schizocarpic fruit of a biennial herb of the parsley family (Umbelliferae), native to Eurasia. Each schizocarpic fruit is formed of two caraway seeds and divides into the two half-fruits when mature. These are 3 – 7 mm long, 1.5 – 2 mm wide, crescent-shaped, pointed at both ends, dark brown and have 5 yellowish ridges. The umbels are cut shortly before they reach maturity and dried.

The term spice is used to refer to plant parts which serve to improve the odor and flavor of foods. They contain essential oils and other ingredients which have a strong seasoning action.

Spices are processed, cleaned, graded and carefully packaged for overseas dispatch in the countries where they are cultivated. They are dried to preserve them for transport and storage. In consumer countries, they are delivered to spice mills, where they are cleaned and graded again, ready for sale in unground or ground form.

Spices are classified by the plant parts used:

Fruit and seed spices (e.g. pepper, cardamom, caraway)
Bud and flower spices (e.g. cloves)
Bark spices (e.g. cinnamon)
Root spices (ginger, turmeric)
Leaf spices (bay leaf)

Oil content:

5.0 – 7.0% essential oils [1] , in particular carvone and limonene
2.5 – 6.0% essential oils [11]
up to 12% fatty oils [15]

Quality / Duration of storage

Caraway may be kept for approx. 12 months if the recommended storage conditions are complied with.

Intended use

Caraway is used in the food industry, in medicine and domestically. It is a versatile spice and is used, among other things, for seasoning meat dishes, as a sausage spice, for seasoning vegetable dishes (cabbage dishes), sauces, bread and cheese.


(Click on the Figure to enlarge it.)

Photo, caraway

Figure 1

Countries of origin

This Table shows only a selection of the most important countries of origin and should not be thought of as exhaustive.

Europe Germany, Russia, Netherlands, Great Britain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Czech Republic, Turkey
Africa Egypt
Asia India
America USA, Canada

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Caraway is packaged in jute fabric bags (50 kg), among other things.

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo

Means of transport

Ship, truck, railroad

Container transport

Standard containers may be used, subject to compliance with lower limits for water content of goods, packaging and container flooring.

Cargo handling

In damp weather (rain, snow), the cargo must be protected from moisture, since this may lead to mold, spoilage and self-heating.

Hooks must not be used in handling bagged goods as they subject the bags to point loads, so damaging them. Due to their shape, plate or bag hooks apply an area load and are thus more suitable for handling bags.

Stowage factor

1.75 m3/t (flat bags of jute fabric, 50 kg) [1]
2.69 – 2.78 m3/t (boxes) [1]
1.67 m3/t (bags) [11]
1.70 – 1.81 m3/t (bags) [14]

Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry, good ventilation


Fiber rope, thin fiber nets

Cargo securing

In order to ensure safe transport, the cargo must be stowed and secured in the means of transport in such a manner that it cannot slip or shift during transport. If loss of volume and degradation of quality are to be avoided, the packages must not be damaged by other articles or items of cargo.

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Risk factors and loss prevention

RF Temperature

Caraway requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

Favorable travel temperature range: 5 – 25°C [1]

Caraway should be transported in areas which exhibit the lowest temperatures during the voyage and are dry. In any event, storage beneath the weather deck or, in the case of shipping in containers, in the uppermost layer on deck, must be avoided as the deck or container is strongly heated by the intense tropical sun and, at temperatures of > 25°C, essential oils may be lost and there is a risk of self-heating.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Caraway requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 60 – 70% [1]
Water content up to 14% [1]
maximum 15% [15]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 65% [1]

Spices are hygroscopic goods (hygroscopicity), which interact with the moisture in the air. The risk of mold growth is naturally at its greatest in warm, damp air. The cargo may become musty, and the risk of self-heating increases with an elevated air moisture content.

Caraway should be stowed away from goods which are sensitive to moisture/humidity or release moisture (e.g. copra).

In order to prevent condensation on the ship’s side or container walls from affecting the cargo, care should be taken to leave a clear gap between the cargo stack and the ship’s side or container wall.

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RF Ventilation

Caraway requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

If the product is at „shipping dryness“, it does not have to be ventilated during transport. However, if the water content does not meet these guidelines, the following ventilation measures should be implemented to eliminate the potential for dampness:

Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate: 6 changes/hour (airing)

In order to avoid formation of mold, the stowage space should be cool, dry and, most particularly, easy to ventilate.

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RF Biotic activity

Caraway displays 3rd order biotic activity.

Caraway belongs to the class of products in which respiration processes are suspended, but in which biochemical, microbial and other decomposition processes still proceed.

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RF Gases

No risk.

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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

An elevated moisture content and excessively high temperatures create a risk of self-heating.

Oil content:

5.0 – 7.0% essential oils [1] , in particular carvone and limonene
2.5 – 6.0% essential oils [11]
up to 12% fatty oils [15]

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RF Odor

Active behavior Due to the exudation of essential oils, caraway has a strong, pleasant, intense, spicy aromatic odor and should therefore not be stowed together with odor-sensitive products, e.g. tea or coffee.

When transporting spices, it is important to retain the content of essential oils to the greatest possible extent, since these substances, together with other constituents, such as fatty oils, tannins and bitter principles, determine the odor and flavor and thus quality of the spices.

The essential oils are readily volatilized and the seasoning action of the spices is consequently reduced. Volatilization of the essential oils is primarily determined by temperature. The higher is the ambient temperature, the more the essential oils are volatilized, as may be recognized by the intense odor in the hold. In the case of caraway, a marked increase in odor may be noted at temperatures of over 25°C.
Passive behavior Caraway is highly odor-sensitive.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Caraway does not cause contamination.
Passive behavior Caraway is sensitive to dust, dirt, fats and oils. A foreign matter content of at most 5% is admissible, but this should be no more than 0.2% in good quality products [28].

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RF Mechanical influences

With bagged cargo, point loads applied for example by hooks may result in damage (tears) to the bags and thus in loss of volume. Plate or bag hooks, which, due to their shape, distribute the load and reduce the risk of damage, should thus be used.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

No risk.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

The natural drying process of the product may cause slight loss of weight.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Caraway consignments may be infested by rats, mice and beetles (in particular drugstore beetles, hump spider beetles, Australian spider beetles and golden spider beetles) and moths (dried fruit and cacao moths) and mites.

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