I haven’t been cooking them as a rule, mostly adding dried spices to the cooked foods (seasoning to taste). However, I was looking up whether there were food safety issues with dehydrated foods, and it apppears that spices are most often the source of outbreaks and recalls in that category. So now I think it’s better to cook those with the food too. Foodsafety.gov confirms that spices have been a source of salmonella, etc. Obviously cooking isn’t mandatory, as the salt and pepper shakers wouldn’t be in restaurants, but it can happen (and more often with pepper, which is commonly used uncooked).
Other foods I was adding to my must cook list were frozen corn and canned olives… well, pretty much everything but acidic foods, I guess. Or even those can be affected somehow. Raisins for instance are said to exhibit marked antimicrobial activity against spoilage organisms and human pathogens, yet under some conditions there can be Survival of Salmonella on Dried Fruits. Another article says Salmonella can adapt to organic acids, particularly at pH 6.0 or pH 5.0. However, when the pH is lower (pH 4.0), bacterial survival is not viable after 6 to 24 h. The pH of raisins is said to be between 4 and 5, but that isn’t necessarily the same on the surface. Maybe soaking them in grape juice would be a good thing, other than cooking (sounds good anyway, the pH of that is said to be around 3). I’m not too worried though, just wondering about best practices for food prep. On the one hand I know these kinds of things don’t happen very often with dehydrated foods (at least from personal experience), but on the other hand, they would be more likely to happen without taking precautions (and the likelihood changes as we age too).