Indian Spice Brands accused of Containing Pesticide

US health officials are probing two Indian spice brands over claims that their products containing a cancer-causing pesticide.

Indian Spice Brands accused of Containing Pesticide f

"Our products adhere to stringent health and safety standards"

The US Food and Drug Administration is looking into two Indian spice brands as their products allegedly contain a cancer-causing pesticide.

Earlier in April 2024, Hong Kong suspended sales of three spice mixes made by MDH and another by Everest over alleged high levels of ethylene oxide.

MDH and Everest products are among the most popular in India and worldwide.

Everest has previously said its products are safe for consumption.

Meanwhile, MDH said: “We have not been approached by food safety authorities in either Hong Kong or Singapore about these findings.”

The company reassured customers, stating:

“We do not use ethylene oxide at any stage of our spice production.

“Our products adhere to stringent health and safety standards both in India and internationally.”

The company also noted that neither the Spice Board of India nor the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had been contacted by the regulatory bodies of Hong Kong or Singapore regarding these findings.

An FDA spokesperson said: “The FDA is aware of the reports and is gathering additional information about the situation.”

Singapore has also recalled the Everest mix for fish curries, saying the alleged high levels of ethylene oxide posed a cancer risk.

The Spices Board of India – the flagship organisation handling worldwide promotions and spice exports –  addressed the case, stating that it had requested the data for MDH and Everest’s exports from authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Indian regulator for spice exports also claimed to be working jointly with the companies to narrow down the “root cause” of the alleged quality red flags.

Inspection has commenced at the respective plants to “ensure adherence with regulatory standards”.

In a statement, The Spices Board of India added:

“The Board is in touch with Indian missions in Singapore and Hong Kong to get more information.”

On April 27, 2024, both companies’ websites were offline.

Ethylene oxide is used for several purposes in industry, including as a fumigating agent for spices.

The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the chemical is carcinogenic to humans.

In 2018, EPA wrote: “Evidence in humans indicates that exposure to ethylene oxide increases the risk of lymphoid cancer and, for females, breast cancer.”

MDH came under fire in 2019 when a few batches of products were recalled in the US due to fears of salmonella contamination.

Dhiren is a News & Content Editor who loves all things football. He also has a passion for gaming and watching films. His motto is to "Live life one day at a time".

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