Campaign India Team
Apr 24, 2024

Safety concerns rise as MDH and Everest spices face international bans

The FSSAI will soon be initiating an inquiry after Hong Kong and Singapore banned the two spice brands for allegedly containing carcinogens.

Safety concerns rise as MDH and Everest spices face international bans

Everest and MDH, India's leading spice brands, have come under scrutiny after Hong Kong and Singapore banned their products for allegedly containing carcinogenic chemicals. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is set to conduct quality checks on these products.

In response to the bans, the Commerce Ministry has requested detailed reports from Hong Kong and Singapore regarding the rejected shipments to outline corrective actions. An industry consultation to mandate testing for ethylene oxide in spice shipments to these regions is being considered.

Recently, Indian authorities mandated quality inspections for MDH and Everest spices, asking the brands to confirm their compliance with testing procedures and regulations. This is not the first regulatory challenge faced by Indian food products, as the country is the largest producer, consumer, and exporter of spices. In the fiscal year 2022-23, India exported spices worth approximately INR 32,000 crore.

Everest and MDH are not only popular in India but also in other parts of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

On April 5, Hong Kong detected excessive levels of ethylene oxide in several MDH spice mixes, which was also found in Everest's Fish Curry Masala, leading Singapore to recall the same product weeks later. Interestingly, Everest had previously been flagged by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2023 for Salmonella contamination. Following these discoveries, both regions instructed the removal of these products from shelves.

Ethylene oxide, classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, is primarily used in producing chemicals and as a pesticide and sterilising agent. Exposure to ethylene oxide can lead to various cancers, including lymphoma, leukemia, and stomach and breast cancers. The incidents have not only impacted exports, but also raised concerns about the quality and safety of widely used kitchen products.

Everest, founded by Vadilal and MDH, founded by Dharampal Gulati are household names and have been ruling the Indian market for decades. The demand for these spices overseas has increased over the years with the increase in Indians living abroad. Such incidents not only affect exports but also raise serious questions about the quality of products in our kitchen for day-to-day use.

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