Indian government to conduct thorough inspection of all MDH and Everest Spices

Indian government to conduct thorough inspection of all MDH and Everest Spices

Indian government to conduct thorough inspection of all MDH and Everest Spices

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Ethylene Oxide, a cancerous pesticide, has been found in both their spice mixes. 

23 April 2024

By Khushi Maheshwari

A few days ago, Singapore and Hong Kong had recalled two very popular Indian brands — MDH and Everest spice mixes — after discovering a high degree of pesticide in them. 

The centre has now launched a probe into the matter and directed the food commissioners to gather samples of spices from each and every manufacturing unit in the country. This comes after large amounts of ethylene oxide were found in these spices by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and Centre for Food Safety, Hong Kong, post which they red-flagged their products. 

Government officials have said that all the nation’s food commissioners have been informed. The procedure of collecting spice samples has commenced. Samples will be collected from every spice manufacturing factory in the subcontinent between 3 to 4 days. 

They also informed that samples are going to be collected from all the companies that manufacture spices, not merely MDH and Everest. Reports from the lab will come out in around 20 days. 

Food inspectors in Singapore and Hong Kong have issued advisories cautioning consumers not to use four products from these two spice companies due to possible ethylene oxide content at “levels exceeding the permissible limit”.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has categorised ethylene oxide under ‘Group 1 carcinogen’.

There is still a recall in place by the Singapore Food Agency after they found the same pesticide in Everest’s Fish Curry Masala. In an announcement issued on 18th April on its website, the SFA directed the importer SP Muthiah & Sons Pte. Ltd. to recall the products. 

Other products with the same issues are MDH’s Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Masala and Curry Powder. The CFS Hong Kong ordered sellers to remove these items from shelves and stop their sale. 

In India, the use of ethylene oxide in food items is entirely prohibited. Government sources iterated that there will be stringent legal actions against the manufacturers if these carcinogenic substances are discovered in their products, and added that there is a provision in this regard for criminal proceedings as well. 

The sources informed that they had been testing these spices way prior to when Hong Kong and Singapore began doing it and till then no harmful substances were found. They assured that they will take a larger portion for sampling than before for accuracy.

The centre has urged the Spices board, which comes under the Ministry of Commerce, to raise awareness regarding the ingredients used in these products and ascertain that no hazardous elements are added to the products.