India Initiates Testing of MDH and Everest Spices Amid Pesticide Concerns


India’s food safety regulator has announced plans to conduct quality checks on products from the well-known Indian spice brands MDH and Everest Group. This move comes in the wake of concerns raised by Hong Kong, which banned the sale of certain products from these brands due to suspected contamination with a cancer-causing pesticide. The pesticide in question is ethylene oxide, known to pose serious health risks upon long-term exposure, including its potential to cause cancer (1 Trusted Source
Pesticide Residues and Unauthorized Dyes as Adulteration Markers in Chilli Pepper and Tomato

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These brands, MDH and Everest, hold significant prominence in Indian households, being staples in the country’s culinary landscape. Not limited to domestic consumption, their products are also widely exported to various countries, including the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom.

The decision by the Hong Kong regulatory authority, announced through the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department on April 5, has garnered attention following its recent dissemination by Indian media outlets. Of note, the Singapore Food Agency also flagged a similar concern, prompting the recall of Everest’s ‘Fish Curry Masala’ due to the presence of the same pesticide.

MDH and Everest Group have remained silent thus far, refraining from providing any comments on the recalls. Similarly, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has not responded to requests for comment from Reuters, indicating a need for further transparency and communication regarding the issue.

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Collection of Samples by Hong Kong Authorities

The CFS in Hong Kong took proactive measures by collecting samples of specific products, including MDH’s ‘Madras Curry Powder,’ ‘Sambhar Masala Powder,’ and ‘Curry Powder,’ along with Everest Group’s ‘Fish Curry Masala.’ Subsequent testing revealed the presence of ethylene oxide, prompting the directive to halt sales and remove these items from shelves in affected areas.

Responding to the situation, a spokesperson for the CFS stated that distributors and importers had initiated recalls as per the regulatory instructions. This underscores the importance of swift action in addressing potential threats to public health.

In 2013, Italy and Türkiye were the countries with the highest number of reported cases regarding the exportation of adulterated tomatoes to other countries according to the RASFF report.

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This isn’t the first instance of concerns surrounding the safety of spices produced by Everest Group. In June 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recalled two spice mixes from the company after detecting the presence of Salmonella, further highlighting the need for robust quality control measures in food production.

As India gears up to conduct its own inspections on MDH and Everest products, there’s a pressing need for thorough investigations to ensure the safety and integrity of these household staples. Such incidents underscore the importance of stringent food safety regulations and the need for proactive measures to protect consumers from potential health hazards. It remains imperative for both authorities and manufacturers to prioritize transparency, accountability, and adherence to quality standards to maintain consumer trust and safeguard public health.

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Reference:

  1. Pesticide Residues and Unauthorized Dyes as Adulteration Markers in Chilli Pepper and Tomato
    (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9859701/)

Source-Medindia



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