19 July 2024

Two Indian spice makers under intl. radar for presence of cancer-causing pesticide

Two most well-known Indian spice makers are now under international spotlight after Hong Kong, Singapore reportedly found presence of cancer-causing pesticide ethylene oxide in them, and suspended their consumption and sales earlier this month.

Citing presence of ethylene oxide at a level which is not fit for human consumption, Singapore ordered recall of Everest’s Fish Curry Masala, while Hong Kong has recalled three more products of MDH – Madras curry powder, Sambhar masala powder and Curry powder.

Members of the public were advised by their governments not to consume, and the trade should also stop selling the affected products immediately.

Pre-mixed spices of MDH and Everest brand are exported from India across the world and are available in almost every Indian grocery store in New Zealand as well. NewsViews is seeking views of New Zealand Food Safety (Ministry for Primary Industries) on this matter.

Four spice-mixes banned by Singapore, Hong Kong that have raised health concerns

Exposure to this chemical Ethylene oxide above the permissible level is associated with various kinds of cancers, including lymphoid, leukemia, and breast  cancer.

This chemical is generally used for sterilising medical devices and can be used to fumigate agricultural products to prevent microbial contamination.

Following  allegations of presence of pesticide ethylene oxide by these two countries, the US Food and Drug Administration is also reported to be now looking into products made by these two Indian spice makers.

“The FDA is aware of the reports and is gathering additional information about the situation,” an FDA spokesperson told Reuters.

In 2019, a few batches of MDH products were recalled in the US due to fears of salmonella contamination.

These spice-mixes –like dozens others by these and other makers, are house-hold names and have become integral part of different food recipes to provide aroma, colour, and taste to food preparations.

Indian manufacturers Everest Food Products, and MDH have now, however, vehemently refuted these allegations.

In a statement issued late last week, MDH said that allegations are “baseless, unsubstantiated, and not backed by any concrete evidence.., (and) we do not use Ethylene Oxide (ETO) at any stage of storing, processing, or packing our spices.”

According to Reuters, Everest’s Director, Rajiv Shah said that the specific item under examination was safe to consume, and there was no need for concern.

According to another report released on 23 April 2024, the European Food and Safety Authority has found shocking data about food products commonly consumed in the country, and reportedly have flagged the presence of cancer-causing chemical in 527 food products originating from India. Ethylene oxide (RD) is a substance that is not approved at the EU level.

Meanwhile, Spices Board of India has asked Everest and MDH to provide details of quality checks, and Indian Ministry Of Commerce have sought details from Singapore and Hong Kong of the suspension of sales.

Comments are welcome

Get Noticed –  

from NewsViews

Like NewsViews

Advertise here

Support us- we are local