FSSAI to examine MDH and Everest products for quality concerns

The move comes after Hong Kong's Center for Food Safety has asked consumers not to buy these products and traders not to sell, while the Singapore Food Agency has directed a recall of such spices.
Image used for representational purposes
Image used for representational purposesFile photo

NEW DELHI: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is likely to initiate a thorough investigation into MDH and Everest spices in India after reports emerged that Singapore and Hong Kong have banned the sale of these products due to presence of pesticides.

According to sources, the probe is expected to involve testing and quality assessments to determine if the products meet the quality and standards outlined by the FSSAI.

"The upcoming examination will check for the presence of ethylene oxide, a dangerous pesticide unsuitable for human consumption, with prolonged exposure potentially leading to cancer," a top Government source stated.

MDH and Everest, renowned for their spices, dominate Indian kitchens and international markets, including the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and the UK. Hong Kong's regulatory announcement was made on April 5 but gained public notice when Indian media reported it.

Image used for representational purposes
Hong Kong, Singapore food regulators find cancer-causing chemicals in Everest, MDH spices

On April 5, Hong Kong's Center for Food Safety (CFS) revealed that samples of various pre-packaged spice-mix products from two Indian brands contained the pesticide ethylene oxide.

The affected products include MDH's Madras Curry Powder, Everest Fish Curry Masala, MDH Sambhar Masala Mixed Masala Powder, and MDH Curry Powder Mixed Masala Powder. Subsequently, on April 18, the Singapore Food Agency requested the recall of 'Everest Fish Curry Masala' due to the pesticide's presence.

The CFS collected the samples from three retail outlets in Tsim Sha Tsui, respectively for testing under its routine Food Surveillance Programme. The test results showed that the samples contained a pesticide, ethylene oxide.

According to the CFS, individuals selling food items with pesticide residue exceeding permissible limits could face a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to six months of imprisonment upon conviction.

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The New Indian Express