Star anise [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 Sternanis, Badian
English Star anise
French Anis étoile, badian
Spanish Anis estrellado, badiana
Scientific Fructus anisis stellati of Illicium verum
CN/HS number * 0909 10 90

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Star anise is the almost ripe, dried, star-shaped multiple fruit of the star anise tree (Illicium verum), which is a member of the magnolia family (Magnoliaceae). The small, red-brown, star-shaped fruits contain 6 – 8 unevenly sized, boat-shaped individual fruits 12 – 17 mm in length, each containing a glossy brown, egg-shaped seed. The fruits contain the same essential oil as aniseeds.

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, star anise)
Bud and flower spices (e.g. cloves)
Bark spices (e.g. cinnamon)
Root spices (ginger, turmeric)
Leaf spices (bay leaf)

Oil content:

Essential oils:

2.5 – 5.0%, in particular anethole [1]
5.0 – 8.0% [28]

Quality / Duration of storage

Provided that the recommended storage conditions are complied with, star anise may be kept for up to 12 months. Star anise is harvested and shipped all year round.

Intended use

Star anise is used in oriental cuisine and as seasoning in Christmas baking. It is also used for medicinal purposes. In Europe, it is primarily used as a liqueur spice and, sometimes, as a baking spice. Star anise is furthermore widely used for arts and crafts.


(Click on the individual Figures to enlarge them.)

Photo, true star anise

Figure 1
Photo, star anise

Figure 2

Countries of origin

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

Asia China, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia (Java), Philippines

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Star anise is packaged in, among other things, bast bales (50 kg) and bags (40 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 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

4.11 m3/t (bast bales, 50 kg) [1, 14]
5.66 m3/t (bags, 40 kg) [1, 14]

Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry, good ventilation


Fiber rope, thin fiber nets

Cargo securing

In order to ensure safe transport, the packages must be stowed and secured in the means of transport in such a manner that they 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

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

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

Star anise 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

Star anise 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 8 – 12% [1]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 65% [1]

Spices are hygroscopic goods which interact with the moisture in the air. The risk of mold growth is naturally at its greatest in warm, damp air and this may result in loss of aroma.

Star anise 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

Star anise 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

Star anise displays 3rd order biotic activity.

Star anise 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

Star anise primarily contains anethole and fatty oil. Essential star anise oil has a sweetish, burning flavor and a highly aromatic odor. It is primarily located in the woody shell, to a lesser extent in the seed.

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

Oil content:

Essential oils:

2.5 – 5.0%, in particular anethole [1]
5.0 – 8.0% [28]

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RF Odor

Active behavior Star anise has a strong, aromatic 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 Star anise is highly odor-sensitive.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Star anise does not cause contamination.
Passive behavior Star anise is highly sensitive to contamination by dust, dirt, fats and oils.

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RF Mechanical influences

Star anise easily becomes fragile and must therefore be handled with appropriate care. Breakage may amount to as much as 25%.

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

True star anise (Illicium verum) may be confused with the aniseed star (Illicium anisatum), which is likewise a follicular fruit usually with 8 fruits, which burst along the ventral seam and spread out into a star shape. They are highly toxic due to anisatin, which causes severe inflammation of the digestive organs, the kidneys and urinary tract. Confusion with Japanese star anise (Illicium religiosum), which also contains anisatin, is also possible; this spice is somewhat smaller, squatter, yellow-brown and tastes of camphor.

Drawing, aniseed star

Figure 3

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

Natural evaporation of residual moisture in the product may cause slight loss of weight.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

No risk.

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