India asked for details from Singapore-Hong Kong on spice ban: Both countries had banned 4 spices of Everest and MDH, they pose a risk of cancer.

In the matter of 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. The Commerce Ministry official said, ‘The reasons for the rejection of the products of both the companies will be ascertained and the concerns of the exporters related to them along with what should be done to rectify them will also be considered.’ The official said, ‘Technical details, analytical reports and details of exporters whose consignments have been rejected have been sought from the embassies in Singapore and Hong Kong. Details have also been sought from Singapore Food Agency and Center for Food Safety and Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. 4 spices of Everest and MDH banned in Singapore-Hong Kong. Actually, Singapore and Hong Kong had banned some products of both MDH and Everest companies due to the quantity of pesticide ethylene oxide exceeding the limit. 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. Spice Board of India considering ban The official said an industry consultation has also been scheduled to discuss the issue of mandatory testing of ethylene oxide in spice shipments to Singapore and Hong Kong. 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. Everest said – Our spices are not banned in Singapore and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Everest denied the reports of its products being banned in Singapore and Hong Kong. The company 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. Spices of all companies including MDH-Everest 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. Samples will be collected in three-four days, lab report in 20 days. Sources had said – All the food commissioners of the country have been alerted regarding this matter. The process of sample collection of spices has been started. In three to four days, samples will be collected from the spice manufacturing units of all the companies of the country including MDH and Everest. Their lab report will come in about 20 days. 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. Testing of samples has been done earlier also, this time more samples will be collected. Sources had also said that they were testing samples even before the incidents in Hong Kong and Singapore. Claimed that till now no harmful elements have been found in various brands of spices available in the Indian market. This is a continuous process of taking samples. This time, we will take samples at a much faster rate and in greater numbers than what we were taking earlier. 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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