Capsicum [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 Paprika, getrocknet (Gewürzpaprika)
English Capsicum
French Paprika
Spanish Pimiento
Scientific Capsicum pimiento or Capsicum tetragonum
CN/HS number * 0904 20 00

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Capsicums, which are often called chili peppers or hot peppers and may be dried or pickled in vinegar, are the fully ripened, bright red, long and variably sized fruits (length: 5 – 12 cm; diameter up to 5 cm) of Capsicum annuum, which is a member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Capsicums (native to South America) which are used as a spice are generally dried and usually finely ground in the importing country, with the hotness of the powder being determined by the proportion of seeds and partitions added.

The berry fruits of the capsicum are smaller and narrower than those of the sweet pepper and are somewhat bent with a pointed tip to the pod. As with chili pods, the distinctly hot flavor is due to the alkaloid capsaicin (C18H27NO3), which is primarily present in the partitions inside the pod and in the seeds.

Oil content: 10.0 – 13.0% essential oils [1], of which 0.15 – 0.50% capsaicin

Quality / Duration of storage

Provided that the recommended storage conditions are complied with, capsicums may be kept for up to 12 months.

Intended use

Capsicum is used as a seasoning in cooking (goulash, white sauces, poultry and meat dishes, creamed soups, fresh cheese) and in the food industry. Paprika, ground red capsicum, is the national spice of Hungary. Ground capsicum is an important ingredient in curry.


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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 Hungary, former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Spain, Netherlands (under glass), Portugal.
Africa South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda
Asia China, Pakistan, India, Thailand
America Chile

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Capsicums are packaged in, among other things, double-layered jute fabric bags lined with polybags (25, 50 and 72.5 kg).

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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 loss of color and spice content.

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

3.40 m3/t (double-layered bag, jute lined with polybag, 72.5 kg) [1]
1.80 – 2.51 m3/t (ground capsicum) [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

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

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

Capsicums 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.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Capsicums require 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 13% [1]
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. Even small amounts of moisture/humidity may result in loss of color and spice content in capsicums, which should consequently be stored 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

Capsicums require 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

Capsicums display 3rd order biotic activity.

Capsicums belong 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: 10.0 – 13.0% essential oils [1], of which 0.15 – 0.50% capsaicin

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RF Odor

Active behavior Capsicums have a slight, pleasant odor.

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.

Due to the readily volatilized essential oils, spices should always be stowed separately from each other and away from foodstuffs which readily absorb foreign odors (e.g. coffee or tea).
Passive behavior Capsicums are highly odor-sensitive.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Capsicums do not cause contamination.
Passive behavior Capsicums are sensitive to contamination by dust, dirt, fats and oils.

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RF Mechanical influences

Dried capsicum pods are sensitive to mechanical stresses.

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 spread the load due to their shape and reduce the risk of damage, should thus be used. Stacking bags of ground capsicums too high during loading may result in mold growth in the center of the bags as the ground spice becomes caked.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

The typical, pungent flavor is caused by the high content of capsaicin, which, if consumed in excessive quantities, may cause physical damage.

Even in small quantities, capsaicin (C18H27NO3) causes a sensation of burning, heat and pain on the mucous membranes of the mouth. Extended exposure causes ulcers, necrotic areas on the skin and irritation to the eyes.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

Natural drying of inadequately dried product may cause slight loss of weight.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Mice and rats and also insects, such as spiders, thrips, flour beetle, sawtoothed grain beetle, gall midge, whitemarked spider beetle, tobacco beetle and rice caseworm, may also infest the product.

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