Factories of all spice manufacturing companies will be inspected: FSSAI also ordered sampling and testing of the companies’ products.

India’s Food Safety Regulator has now ordered testing and inspection of the products of all spice mix manufacturing companies including MDH and Everest. On Thursday, the regulator said the scope of investigation in the sector has been increased as global regulators are investigating the pesticide ethylene oxide in the products of two popular local brands. Order for inspection, sampling and testing of manufacturing units of companies Food Safety and Standards Authority of India i.e. FSSAI has now asked officials to keep an eye on companies manufacturing curry powder and mixed spice blends for local and foreign sales. Along with this, orders have also been given to inspect, sample and test the manufacturing units of all masala powder manufacturing companies. Every product taken in the sample will be analyzed for compliance with quality and safety parameters. The presence of ethylene oxide in the products of all companies will also be tested. The agency said that the presence of ethylene oxide in the products of all companies will also be tested. Whose use is banned in India, and appropriate action will be initiated after testing is completed. After Singapore-Hong Kong, Maldives banned the sale of Everest-MDH spices. Recently, Maldives also banned the sale of Everest and MDH spices. Before Maldives, Singapore and Hong Kong had also banned some products of both MDH and Everest companies due to exceeding the limit amount of pesticide ethylene oxide. There is a risk of cancer due to excessive quantity of this pesticide in these products. Hong Kong’s Food Safety Department had said that high amounts of ethylene oxide were found in three spice mixes of MDH Group – Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Masala Powder and Curry Powder. This carcinogenic pesticide has also been found in Everest’s fish curry masala. India has sought details from Singapore-Hong Kong on the ban on MDH and Everest spices. In the matter of the ban on MDH and Everest spices, India has sought details from the food regulators of Singapore and Hong Kong. The Commerce Ministry also directed the Indian embassies in both Singapore and Hong Kong to send a detailed report on the matter. The ministry has also sought details from MDH and Everest. Meanwhile, the Spice Board of India is considering the ban imposed by Hong Kong and Singapore on the sale of four spice-mix products of Indian brands MDH and Everest. MDH rejected the allegations, said- Products are safe. MDH had rejected the allegations of ‘pesticides’ in its products and said that these claims are false and baseless and there is no concrete evidence for them. MDH had said, ‘The allegations of presence of ethylene oxide in our products are not true. Apart from this, the company has not received any message from the regulatory authorities of Singapore or Hong Kong. Everest said – Our spices are not banned in Singapore and Hong Kong. Everest had also denied the reports of its products being banned in Singapore and Hong Kong. The company had said that Everest spices are not banned in any country. All our products are safe and of high quality. Only one product will be tested. Earlier, after the ban on four spices of MDH and Everest in Hong Kong and Singapore, the Government of India had asked the Food Commissioners to collect samples of spices of all the companies. Strict action will be taken against companies if they contain harmful ingredients. There is a ban on the use of ethylene oxide in food items in India. Strict action will be taken if harmful ingredients are found in Indian spices. There is also a provision for criminal proceedings. The government has appealed to the Spice Board under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to spread awareness that no harmful ingredients should be added to the products. Agencies are also investigating the spices in America, while the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also investigating the spices of the company. An FDA spokesperson told Reuters, ‘FDA is aware of these reports and is gathering additional information about the situation.’ Ethylene oxide is a pesticide, it causes cancer. The Spice Board defines ethylene oxide as a flammable, colorless gas at temperatures above 10.7 Celsius. It works as a disinfectant, sterilizing agent and insecticide. It is used to sterilize medical instruments and reduce microbial contamination in spices. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies ethylene oxide as a ‘Group 1 carcinogen’. That means there is enough evidence to conclude that it can cause cancer in humans. Ethylene oxide can cause cancers like lymphoma and leukemia. Stomach and breast cancer can also occur. In the financial year 2022-23, India exported spices worth Rs 32,000 crore. In the financial year 2022-23, India exported spices worth about Rs 32,000 crore. Chilli, cumin, turmeric, curry powder and cardamom are the major spices exported.

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