Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Hong Kong, Singapore ban India’s MDH, Everest spice brands for pesticides

  • The spices are available in Bangladesh as well
  • Nepal to test samples
Update : 23 Apr 2024, 04:25 PM

Hong Kong and Singapore have banned renowned Indian brands MDH and Everest for alleged detection of the carcinogenic pesticide ethylene oxide in several spice mixes. 

Hong Kong's Center for Food Safety (CFS) announced its findings on April 5, revealing that the levels of ethylene oxide found in these spice products exceeded the permissible limits set by Hong Kong regulations.

On the other hand, Singapore banned the spices on April 18.

These spices are available in Bangladesh as well. Many supermarkets and online shopping websites sell these. 

The sale of food containing pesticide residues beyond safe limits is strictly prohibited in Hong Kong under the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap 132CM).

CFS announced that routine surveillance programs had uncovered the presence of ethylene oxide in three spice mixes from MDH Group - Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Masala Powder, and Curry Powder.

"The CFS collected the above-mentioned 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. The CFS has informed the vendors concerned of the irregularities and instructed them to stop the sale and remove from shelves the affected products," it said in a statement.

According to the CFS report: "A food for human consumption containing pesticide residue may only be sold if consumption of the food is not dangerous or prejudicial to health." 

Previously Singapore Food Agency (SFA) had recalled India's “Everest fish curry masala” due to the presence of ethylene oxide, a pesticide that is not authorized for use in food, beyond permissible limits, and advised buyers against consuming it. 

Meanwhile, after Hong Kong and Singapore banned the sale of Indian spice brands MDH and Everest Masala, Nepal’s food regulatory body, the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, has said it will test samples of the said products.

"We will test [the products] to determine the level of pesticides they contain," said Dr Matina Joshi Vaidhya, director general of the department. 

"Necessary action will be taken if the said products exceed acceptable pesticide limits,” he said.

Everest, the 57-year-old spice brand founded by the late Vadilal Bhai Shah is India's largest manufacturer of pure and blended spices and is present in more than 80 countries globally.

In this regard, the company, in a statement to the Times of India, said that all its products go through stringent checks before dispatch and before export. 

Every shipment goes through quality inspection by the Spice Board of India, it said. 

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