Oregano is the same as oregano? No, not really. A study performed for Norwegian TV2 shows that the quality of the popular dried herb differs significantly between different brands. At Santa Maria, they are not surprised. A little over a century of working on producing the very best herbs and spices has shown the importance of good supplier cooperation and careful, multi-level quality review.

Oregano is the same as oregano? No, not really. A study performed for Norwegian TV2 shows that the quality of the popular dried herb differs significantly between different brands. At Santa Maria, they are not surprised. A little over a century of working on producing the very best herbs and spices has shown the importance of good supplier cooperation and careful, multi-level quality review.

"We have had the same suppliers for several decades, and our oregano can be traced back to the field where it was grown," states Christopher Westerberg, European Marketing Manager for Paulig Foods division in Paulig Group.

Is there anything other than dried herbs in the jar?

It should be obvious that a jar of oregano contains oregano. TV2's research shows, however, that this is not always the case. At Santa Maria, they know that purification of the raw material to ensure 100% purity is the key to a high-quality end product.

"We demand raw materials with a purity of at least 99% when they arrive at our processing plants. Then it goes through several stages of meticulous controls and purification in our plants to secure that final percentage point. Other things which may otherwise end up in the final product are sticks, dust or oregano that has been damaged in transit," explains Christopher Westerberg.

Meticulous purification process

"On-site in our laboratory, we perform an arrival inspection to ensure that the oregano is of the correct quality. First, a visual inspection is performed. A number of tests are then carried out to ensure the product is safe and contains the right amount of essential oils, which are important for the taste. Before the oregano is packed, it undergoes a further five-stage cleaning process to remove any last traces that do not have the correct quality. Naturally, the end product must be 100% oregano," says Christopher Westerberg.

No insecticides

Santa Maria obtains its herbs and spices from a wide variety of countries. Its oregano, for example, is purchased from South America.

"Our oregano is grown in Peru and Chile, at high altitudes. This gives a fine, green oregano which due to the clean environment does not need to be heat-treated or sprayed with insecticide," concludes Westerberg.